Mastering the Multiplication Facts – Strategic thinking…

Hello to my colleagues in Coquitlam!

I wanted to share a template for a set of multiplication flash cards that are set up to be used by strategy.  You’ll notice that in the attached multiplication fact cards file, each of the fact families appears in a different colour, to bring to mind the particular strategy that matches the fact.   The hope here is that, like with Cuisenaire rods. the related colours will help to call to mind the relationships between the facts themselves.  I recommend that students cut apart the cards and practice the facts by strategy, one at a time, as they learn and then recall them.

Here’s the idea…

Consider the “multiply by 5” facts.  For these, we think of the 10’s facts, and then find half of it…

7 x 5… think   7 x 10 ÷ 2   or    70 ÷ 2

Because the 5 facts are related to the 10’s fact, their colours are likewise related in the flash cards – yellow for the 5’s and orange for the 10’s.

The 9’s are another fact related to ten.  For the “multiply by 9’s” we think multiply by ten and subtract one group.

7 x 9… think   7 x (10 – 1)  or  7 x 10 – 7

The 9 fact cards are in a related colour as well – red for the 9’s and orange for the tens.

In the same vein, the 2’s are green, the fours are dark green (since they are double twos or the “double-doubles”) and the 3’s are blue.  All are related colours, and each family uses the 2’s in some way.  For three, we think double and add one set, like so:

7 x 3…. think 7 x (2 + 1)   or   7 x 2 + 7

As for the remaining colours, the 1’s facts are all in white to highlight their simplicity (What you see is what you get!!), the square numbers are purple (for no other reason than purple is my favourite colour and the squares are my favourite facts!) and the last three remaining facts – the most complex ones to master strategically – are in pink.

The facts that are the reverse of all of these (the commutative or “flip-around” facts) have been left uncoloured in the bottom left hand corner of the virtual chart, since if we master the coloured ones – and practice them both forwards and backwards – we will likewise have mastered these ones.  You might choose to print and cut them out, or not.

Hope this proves helpful…


multiplication facts – coloured

3 responses

  1. Tamara Beaton | Reply

    Hi Carole,
    I love this. Going to try it on my kidlets tomorrow.

  2. Merci Carole!!!

  3. As someone who was successful by simply memorizing the multiplication tables, the idea that we can teach how to get there with strategies is eye-opening for me. Thank you! I am learning to see through many math eyes!

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