# Multiplication Grade by Grade

Oct 17, 2024A strong foundation with multiplication skills is critical for success and is established in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. When people think of multiplication at this level, they mainly think of the memorization of multiplication facts. While learning and being able to fluently recall answers to basic multiplication facts is extremely important, there are also many more important skills and concepts students will learn in grades 3rd-5th that build upon each other every year that they will need to master to be successful in higher level mathematics.

**Why is Multiplication So Important?**

Multiplication is one of the most important pillars of mathematics! It will be used again and again as students' progress through each grade level and on into college. From 3rd grade on, multiplication will continue to be used and impact students' ability to understand and ultimately succeed in many areas of math and beyond. Here are just some of the other skills that require a strong multiplication foundation:

**Division:**Fluency with multiplication facts is important both when students first begin learning division and for success later on dividing larger numbers.**Finding Area and Volume:**Multiplication is used heavily here, from finding the area of simple squares & rectangles through more advanced skills like finding the area of more complex shapes or finding volume.**Converting units of measure:**How do you figure out how many inches are in 5 feet? Multiply, of course! Students start out converting within the same system of measurement and will progress later on to converting from one system to another, i.e. metric to imperial or vice versa.**Fractions:**Multiplication is*everywhere*in fractions, where knowledge of multiplication facts will be critical to success with things like finding common denominators in addition to multiplying and dividing fractions

And the list goes on! Working with **decimals** and **currency**, identifying **number patterns**, learning about **exponents** and **powers of ten** - these are all skills that will require the use of multiplication, and that will be much harder for students who have not achieved multiplication mastery.

**What Multiplication Skills Do Students Learn in Each Grade?**

From its roots in 3rd grade to the advanced applications in 5th grade, multiplication isn't just about memorizing facts; it's a sequential mastery that unfolds year after year. Whether you are an educator or a parent, knowing and understanding the progression of multiplication during these critical years is powerful knowledge that will help you be able to provide valuable support to your student(s). Because we are here to help you do just that, here is a breakdown of what is covered each year in grades 3rd, 4th and 5th in the multiplication arena:

**3rd Grade: The Multiplication Journey Begins**

Third grade is the year that most students are introduced to multiplication. They begin by exploring multiplication through models that begin more concrete such as modeling counters in **equal groups** models and **arrays**. By creating and interpreting these models, students build an understanding of what is actually happening when they multiply two numbers together and it helps them relate multiplication to repeated addition and skip counting. Next, they learn how to model multiplication on a **number line**. Number line models of multiplication provide a more abstract representation of multiplication and are beneficial in illustrating multiplication over a distance. All of these models aid in a student’s ability to conceptualize multiplication and build their understanding of when to multiply numbers together which is extremely important when it comes to thinking critically through a word problem to try to determine what operation to use to solve it.

Finally, students in third grade learn strategies for quickly recalling **multiplication facts** for numbers 0-10, including multiplication rules for specific facts along with other strategies such as using the distributive property. It’s important that students frequently practice these strategies as well as begin memorizing multiplication facts so that they can successfully apply them later in the year when division is introduced as well as finding the area of a given square or rectangle.

**4th Grade: Multiplication Goes Big**

Multiplication picks back up in 4th grade with students learning strategies for multiplying larger numbers. First, they learn how to multiply a 1-digit number by a number that is a multiple of 10, 100 or 1,000 (e.g. 8 x 400 =), and then build upon this skill by solving multiplication problems in which they are required to estimate to find a product. Next, they move on to explore multiplying 2 to 3-digit numbers beginning with first multiplying a 2 to 3-digit number by a 1-digit number, then the more challenging skill of multiplying a 2-digit number by another 2-digit number. Each of these skills are frequently taught using multiple strategies such as the **box method**, **partial products** and the more traditional **standard algorithm** (which is just the most common way most people multiply).

Later in the year, fourth graders will apply multiplication skills that they learned in both 3rd and 4th grades to find multiples, to identify number patterns, to multiply a fraction by a whole number, to convert units of measurement and to find the area of combined rectangles.

**5th Grade: Multiplication Expands**

In 5th grade, the skill of multiplying whole numbers levels up one last time as students learn how to multiply two multi-digit numbers such as multiplying a 4-digit number by a 3-digit number.

Then, all of the knowledge they have obtained up to this point is applied to solve a wide range of new problems they will learn including **powers of 10**, the **order of operations**, multiplying **decimals**, multiplying a **fraction** by a fraction, multiplying a **mixed number** by mixed number, converting **units of measurement** (a more expansive version of what they learned in 4th grade), and finding the **volume** of a rectangular prism.

After 5th grade, the cumulative knowledge of multiplication students acquired in grades 3rd-5th will be applied repeatedly in all future grade levels of math and even later in science. Understanding the interconnectedness of multiplication during these years and beyond levels up your ability to help your student(s) as a teacher or parent.

**Free Multiplication Practice and Resources**

Many times, when a student is having difficulty with multiplication, it can be because they never achieved fact fluency, or they did not fully understand the multiplication concepts taught in previous grade levels. If you have a student struggling with multiplication at any level, extra practice and review is key. We've developed several FREE resources to help:

- 3rd Grade Multiplication Practice Guide - Help your student work toward multiplication fact fluency with this practice guide and flashcard set that focuses on strategies for learning the multiplication facts that tend to be harder for students to memorize.
- Multiplication Game Printable - Grab the dice and make multiplication practice fun with this easy printable game! Includes two score card variations, one with multiplication facts 1-6 and another with 7-12.
- Guide to Learning Factors & Multiples - Perfecting this skill can help set your 4th or 5th graders up for success in math, especially as they work more with fractions and are introduced to concepts like Greatest Common Factor.
- Free Multiplication Table and Facts Chart - With a multiplication table and facts chart for numbers 1-12, these resources can be great supports for students on their journey towards multiplication fact mastery.

**Multiplication Worksheets and Lessons**

Need lessons or worksheets to use when teaching multiplication? We've got you covered with no-prep resources to help your students build a strong multiplication foundation:

- Multiplication with Equal Groups and Repeated Addition
- Multiplication with Array Models
- Multiplication on a Number Line
- Strategies for Learning Multiplication Facts 0-12: Mega NO PREP Worksheet Set

You can also find these and other resources on our Teachers Pay Teachers store: Ignite Learning Co | Teachers Pay Teachers

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