Package 1-1: Multiplication toss

This activity will support your child to represent multiplication as an array of rows and columns on grid paper.

Week 2 -Package 1 - Year 5 & 6 Mathematics - Multiplication toss

Things you need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.

Ideal Back up

1cm square grid paper in your child’s mathematics book

Download 1cm square paper or use squared paper that you have in the house.

Different coloured pencils or markers

Two 0-9 spinners

Check your child’s knowledge of multiplication facts. You may want to make spinners that only have the numbers your child can multiply easily to begin with, for example, 2,2,4,4,1,1,5,5,0,0. As your child gets confident with the game you can change the numbers.

You can make the spinner by drawing around a ten-sided shape on card. Put a toothpick through the centre to spin with.

Paper clip for spinner

You can make the spinner out of card and use a toothpick through the centre to spin with

Multiplication toss video

You can follow the instructions below.

4 people

2 or 3 people

Why is this activity important?

Multiplication toss is an engaging way for your child to practise multiplying with numbers from 0-9. The game will also support your child to represent the multiplication as an array of rows and columns on their grid paper. Your child will also learn that multiplications such as 6 times 3 or 6 groups of 3 will cover the same area as 3 times 6 or 3 groups of 6. As the game progresses and in order to win the game your child will learn that 3 times 6 (3x6) has the same value as 3 times 3 plus 3 times 3 (3x3+3x3). This will improve your child’s mathematical reasoning skills and they may want to investigate multiples of numbers even further.

Before you start

It is always a good idea to check which numbers your child can multiply before starting a game like this. Ask some questions such as, “What are 4 groups of 5?” or “What is 6 times 2?” This is not the same as skip counting – 2,4,6,8,10,12 and so on.

Once you are sure which numbers they are confident with, put them on the spinner but also add numbers that your child is learning to multiply by and which they can work out. For example, 3 eights (3 x 8) is the same as doubling 3 fours (3 x 4).

Create the spinners as shown in this video or create your own using this decagon template, some card and a toothpick. Have some squared paper ready for everyone who is playing the game and a collection of coloured pencils or textas.

What your child needs to know and do

Your child can watch the video Multiplication toss. Otherwise follow these instructions:

Each player takes a turn to spin both of the spinners. If a 3 and 6 are spun, players can either draw around a block of 3 sixes (3 rows of 6) or 6 threes (6 rows of 3). You may need to show some of the players what this looks like, especially if a younger sibling is playing. Once the array of rows and columns has been enclosed check that everyone has done this correctly and ask how many squares are in the array. Some children may say things like “I know 3 sixes is 18”, or “3 times 6 is 18”. The good thing about this game is that if they don’t know a number fact yet, they can use the game board to help them work it out. They could work out 2 sixes are 12, and then count on the final row of 6, for example.

Model how to record your answer.

The game continues and players are not allowed to use any of the same squares twice. There are no overlapping areas.

Eventually the space on the grid paper gets really small. Then, players really have to think. It would help your child if you could think aloud about what they could do if, for example, 3 sixes (3 x 6) won’t fit anywhere on their paper as one whole array.

“Oh no! 3 sixes won’t fit as 3 sixes or as 6 threes. I am going to partition (split) 3 sixes to help to fit into two smaller spaces! I can rename 3 sixes as 2 sixes and 1 six (if that helps me fit the block into my game board). Or I can rename 3 sixes as 1 six and 1 six and 1 six.” and so on.

The winner is the player with the largest area blocked out after 10 spins.

What to do next

Once your child knows how to play this game they can continue to play with you, with siblings or even with family and friends online. They won’t even need a spinner if they are happy for your child to spin for them.

Options for your child

Activity too hard? Activity too easy?

Use numbers on the spinner that your child is more confident with.

Let your child count the squares in the array by ones or skip counting before giving the answer as a multiplication.

Ask your child to answer the multiplication fact before drawing the array.

Ask your child to investigate why some multiples can be made into more arrays than others (before partitioning). Which multiple can make the most arrays? Which make the fewest? Which make none at all? Why?

Follow-up questions to ask your child

Ask your child to look at the squares left on their grid paper after the game. Would it be possible to fill all of the space with one more spin of the spinner? What two numbers would they need?

If they would need more than one go to cover all the remaining squares on the grid paper, what is the smallest number of goes they would need and which numbers would they need on the spinners?

Extension/Additional activity

If you would like to do a further activity with your child, begin by playing multiplication toss again. At the end of the game, ask your child to choose a selected array to investigate the different ways the multiple could be partitioned. If you have access you could watch the video instructions with your child. Otherwise follow the instructions below.

Here is an example of a child’s completed game board.

This child chose a 7 sixes section to investigate. It is a good one to choose because there are lots of options for partitioning and renaming the enclosed area. Help your child to choose an area that is going to have some options.

Help your child to use another piece of grid paper to draw and label the different ways their chosen section can be partitioned and renamed. Here are some ideas.

You could also do the activity with your child but choose a different section to investigate. You could make a game of it by competing to find the most ways of partitioning and renaming the area and discuss why some have more options than others.

Return to top of page Back to top