Sharing Multi-Digit Multiplication Strategies with Families

Bridges students learn more than one way to solve multi-digit multiplication expressions. This enables them to select the strategy that is most efficient for any given problem. In addition to the standard algorithm that many of us were taught, fifth graders also investigate:

  • Area model & four partial products
  • Doubling & halving
  • Ratio table
  • Using quarters
  • Over strategy

While my students use the new strategies with ease, the methods remain new territory for their parents and caregivers. To that end, I wanted to create opportunities for students to share what they’d learned with their families.

Bonus Homework

I challenged students to teach a parent or caregiver how to use a new strategy and demonstrate how it compares to the standard algorithm. Students thoroughly enjoyed the teaching role. One boy noted his dad’s approval. “My dad said the new way is sorta weird, but he thinks everybody should have learned it that way in the first place!” If that isn’t affirmation, I don’t know what is. 

Video Tutorials

After students developed fluency with the strategies, I invited them to share their learning on video tutorials using the free Educreations app. As we began, I asked if any of them had ever seen a video tutorial. Grinning, they all said that they had. They were thrilled with the idea of making their own!

After randomly selecting a multi-digit multiplication strategy, they planned presentations, including visuals and text/dialog. 

This was a powerful way for them to demonstrate what they'd learned. As students planned, I heard incredible mathematical conversations. In one example, while working on the ratio table presentation, a student experimented with several sets of numbers—conversing with classmates about choices—before he came up with an example that demonstrated optimal efficiency.

I hope you enjoy their videos as much as they enjoyed producing them!


Cynthia Hockman-Chupp is a curriculum specialist for MLC.