Tired of the same boring multiplication and division practice activities? Check out five ways to amp-up engagement and increase the rigor for practice with whole number operations.
The day started the same as the previous five days. Without even thinking about my actions, I took out the dry erase boards, markers, and towels. And then I pulled out yet another practice worksheet. Another one.
When the students returned from music, I handed out the practice page.
Then I said, “Today we’ll continue practicing multiplying and dividing. You can work by yourself, with a partner, or work with me at the back table.”
I could see the look of disinterest and boredom move across many of their faces. They were tired of multiplying and dividing whole numbers.
After five days, I felt sick and tired too.
Don’t get me wrong. I know many students struggle to be proficient with whole number operations, but I needed a different way to engage my students with this topic.
Multiplication and Division Practice- A New Way
After years of boredom with dry-erase math problems, I created some activities to allow students to practice the skill in a fun and engaging way but also increase the level of rigor.
Now, not all of the students were ready for these activities, but as they developed more proficiency with the skill, they needed something more engaging and required more thinking.
So, it’s time to dump those boring old dry erase math problems and engage our students with something better. Check out five ways to engage students’ thinking and raise the rigor of multiplying and dividing with multi-digit whole numbers.
5 Multiplication and Division Practice Activities
Students love games and they amp-up the level of engagement in an instant. From simple card and dice games to file folder games, games are quick and easy to implement with the class as a whole or in math station groups.
Odd One Out
For this task, students review four multiplication or division problems solved using different strategies. After reviewing the problems, students then discuss which problem is the “odd one out.” In some cases, this may be the only correct or incorrect problem. In other cases, the problems may have a special characteristic in common, such as a zero in the tens place of the quotient or have a three-digit quotient. This task can be fun and engaging because the possibilities for how to use them are endless. And, as an added bonus, students must use math talk.
These tasks can be used in a variety of ways, such as presenting a set of problems and having students create a model to represent the problem or providing a product/quotient and asking students to create a word problem with the given solution. Encouraging creativity in student responses challenges student thinking.
What Went Wrong
This activity not only promotes math talk but is a fantastic challenge for students once they are comfortable with multiplication and division. The “What Went Wrong” activity requires students to analyze the steps used to complete a problem and then identify the error or errors made. After finding what went wrong, students rework the problem to show the correct solution path.
Missing Numbers/Tiling Tasks
These types of tasks are my favorite! They’re super versatile and they raise the bar on multiplication and division practice. For these tasks, students review a completed problem, illustrating the steps to solve it, where some of the digits are covered. Students must then use the placement of the surrounding numbers and the relationship among them to determine the missing digits.
With a little creativity, multiplication and division practice does not have to be boring. Activities, like the ones shared here amp up student engagement and the level of rigor in the classroom without using worksheets. And, if you’re teaching this content in October, you can even add a little seasonal fun to engage students even more and celebrate the season without candy and costumes.
Need ready to go games? Grab my Free Multiplication and Division Game pack using the form below.
Sound Off! What are your favorite activities for multiplication and division practice? Respond in the comments below.
Credits: Image mock-ups created using images from Megan Favre.