March /April 2004 Volume 12 No. 2

Multiplying Play
by Dianne Wilton

Are the multiplication facts dragging you down? We are multiplying our way to new levels by playing with the facts. Games may be your answer, too:

Basketball While playing one-on-one, give yourselves 6 points for each hoop you make. The multiples of 6 soon become familiar, especially if your hoop is at a comfortable height. Skip-counting is a precursor for multiplication and can be used in all repetitive activities to keep the multiples moving. Count by 2s as you climb through the monkey bars, by 3s as you bounce a ball, by 4s as you volley the badminton bird, or by 5s as you skip rope.

Darts “Pebble Toss” is our version with numbered concentric circles drawn on the sidewalk. Taking turns, throw a pebble onto the target, multiply the value of the circle you land on by the multiplication table you want to practice, and keep a running score, trying to be the first to reach 200 or 500.

Dice games Instead of regular dice, we cover cube sides with adhesive tape, and label them with any numerals from 0 to 10. Each player tosses two cubes and multiplies the thrown numbers. You can keep a running score, or simply let the highest or lowest toss win. When you play Snakes and Ladders, let the multiplied cubes determine the move. To make the game feasible, we move only the digit in the units column. (6 x 9 = 54, so our move is 4 places)

Card games Concentration is a favorite. Make your own set of cards by printing multiplication questions on individual filecards, and answers on others. Place all of the cards randomly on the table upside down and take turns choosing two cards, searching for a matching pair. Begin with just a few pairs, and soon youll be playing with the full deck.
Domino Bingo Make Bingo cards with at least 3 columns and 3 rows and write multiplication answers in each space. Dominoes are then placed upside down on the table. As each domino is turned over, players multiply the domino numbers and cover the products if they are on their cards. The objective of the game is to cover 3 spaces in a line---vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

Paper Plate Races Race against time to see how fast you can complete the circuit. These paper plates are easy to make, writing a multiplication start in the center of each plate (6 x, for example) and other numbers around the plate edge. Holes are punched beside the outside numbers with their corresponding answers (multiplying the center number with the outside number) next to the holes on the back of the plate. Call out the answers as you move around the circuit, putting your pencil point into the appropriate holes, and checking your responses with the answers on the back.

It is important to memorize the multiplication facts, to have them at your fingertips. Playing with multiplication makes that practice fun.

About the author: Dianne Wilton is the mother of two boys and the author of Kitchen Table Classroom. She invites you to check her website at http://ktclassroom.tripod.com/ for a free fun learning activity each day.

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