Time for Times

We have started our multiplication and division learning - our units stretch from the beginning of October to Thanksgiving. We got off to an enthusiastic start, thanks to Circles and Stars! This simple multiplication game was very well received by my students this year!
If you are not familiar with this activity, let me try to explain it. We play it in groups of two, with each group having two dice. I like to give them a white one and a colored one to start out just to help them keep how many groups and how many in each group straight in their minds.
One partner shakes the colored die and draws that many circles on the paper (the number of groups). The second shakes the white die and puts that many stars in each circle (objects in the group). Students don't have to draw actual stars if that's not easy for them -- they can use dots as shown or some other symbol.
After finishing their representation, they write the multiplication equation shown.

Students absolutely love playing this game, which fits very nicely when working on 3.OA.1.1 (Florida) / 3.OA.A.1 (CCSS). We began developing an anchor chart with strategies for multiplication and this was our first one - make equal groups. Referring to it as circles and stars seems to help my seriously struggling darlings understand what to do! Win!

We also read two books to help introduce us to multiplication.

The first book turns students' thinking toward skip counting with lots of real world examples.

The second book, while calling itself a counting book, is all about multiplication problems! This one has a lot of examples so we are doing a few pages at a time.

How do you introduce multiplication?


  1. Thanks for these great book recommendations! My students were so confused with how many items are in a pair!

  2. I do a similar "game" in centers.The first roll of the dice is for bird nests which are quarter sheets of paper. the second roll of the dice is for eggs to put in each nest which are bingo chips, I extend the lesson to review addition as the students play in partners and the players play 3 rounds with the highest total winning the round.


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