Multiplication facts can be difficult to learn, and difficult to teach. Luckily, there are strategies that we can use to help us teach the multiplication facts more effectively so that every student can be successful.
One thing that we can do is use mental math strategies that make the calculations easier to understand. Although memorization is still a goal, we want our students to have effective, efficient strategies to fall back on. Read more about effective strategies for multiplication HERE.
Another thing that we can do is teach the facts in a strategic order.
When I first started teaching multiplication, I taught the facts in regular numerical order – the 1’s, then the 2’s, then the 3’s, etc. This is a mistake!
Instead, we want to teach the easiest facts first, and leave the hard ones til last. Why? Simple! Because when we teach like this, we teach students the majority of the basic facts before things even begin to get challenging! This is very motivating for your students, as they can see their progress and how rapidly they are learning their facts.
Here is my recommended order for teaching the facts. Later, I will discuss the reason for teaching in this order.
- The 0’s
- The 1’s
- The 2’s
- The 10’s
- The 5’s
- The 11’s
- The 9’s
- The 4’s
- The 3’s
- The 6’s
- The 7’s
- The 8’s
- The 12’s
So why do we teach in this order?
To make this more visual, I’ll illustrate it with a multiplication chart. I actually do encourage you to have your students shade in a Multiplication chart as they master the facts. If you are using my Multiplication Station to teach basic facts, this has been included for you.
Once your students master the 0’s facts, their shaded chart will look like this. We have shaded all of the 0’s facts. Now remember that this includes facts that have 0 as the 2nd factor. The commutative property of multiplication states that the order of factors does not change the product, so 0x3 is a 0’s fact, but so is 3×0.
Now it’s on to the 1’s. The 1’s facts are a really easy set of facts to learn, so it won’t take students long to master these ones. Once they have mastered them, they can shade in the chart, and it will look like this! It’s really motivating for your students to see how many facts they already know!
After the 1’s, we master the 2’s. These are another easy set of facts, because they are just the addition doubles (read more about that strategy here). Now here is our multiplication chart!
Once we master the 2’s, we move on to the 10’s, and then the 5’s. Again, these are both generally fairly simple sets of facts to learn. Take a look at our chart now! We ALREADY have mastered SO many facts on our multiplication table! This comes back to the commutative property – we know 10×8, so we also know 8×10 – which is also an 8’s fact.
After the 10’s we work on mastering the 11’s. This is yet another simple set of facts to learn, because it follows an easy pattern. And now look at our chart! We have now mastered the majority of facts, and we haven’t even really gotten into the difficult facts yet!!! Amazing!
This is where we get into the facts that are going to demand a bit more work. The great news is that we really don’t have that many facts left to master when it comes right down to it. Next we move on to the 9’s, 4’s, and then the 3’s. For the 9’s we have a great trick to use – my favorite one, actually (read more about that one here). For the 4’s we use the doubles’ double strategy (read more here), and for the 3’s we use the doubles plus one more group strategy (read more about that one here).
Take a look at that chart above! This is so motivating for your students to see! We still have to master the 6’s, 7’s, 8’s, and 12’s….but we know most of them already anyways (because of the commutative property)! Once we master the 6, 7, and 8’s facts….we only have one more fact to learn – 12×12!!!!
As you can see, this suggested order of teaching the multiplication facts is exciting, motivating, and encourages success for your students! Let’s make multiplication as easy as possible!
If you would like a printable copy of this suggested order of teaching, you can download one free from HERE.
Need further support for teaching multiplication?
Join me for a free mini-course outlining strategies for all of the facts, as well as this effective order for teaching the facts. It will only take about an hour to complete and you’ll leave with a ton of ideas, tips, and a PD certificate. REGISTER HERE.
Alternatively, see my blog post about effective strategies for teaching multiplication HERE.
OR, if you are looking for a resource where all of the work is done for you, you may be interested in The Multiplication Station, a self-paced, student-centered math station where students work through the basic multiplication facts and strategies, mastering each one as they go. Strategies are integrated in a strategic manner, ensuring that students build on their understanding progressively. See the Multiplication Station HERE.