Learning Multiplication

Learning multiplication can be a daunting task for any student.  Thankfully, there are some rules that are fairly easy to remember that can help your child to begin to understand the basics of multiplying.

Each multiplication worksheet below covers one of three unchangeable rules of multiplying numbers.

When learning how to multiply, it is important to make sure that the child understands these rules and can apply them to basic mathematical problems.

Basic Multiplication Rule 1: The Order of Factors

I've covered factors and products in another lesson, but I'd like to include it here as well as it is one of the first rules you should cover when learning multiplication.

This foundational rule states that no matter what order you place the factors in, the product (answer) to any multiplication problem is the same.

For example:

2 X 6 = 12

when reversed, has the same answer.

6 X 2 = 12

Remember . . . multiplying is repeated counting of similar amounts (by 2's in the example) separated by groups (of 6 above).  The answer is the same whether you count 6 groups of 2 or 2 groups of 6.

As I mentioned above, I've covered this in more detail in another lesson.  You can learn more and print out the accompanying worksheet here.

Basic Multiplication Rule 2: Multiplying by Zero

The next rule I'd like to cover is that no matter what number you multiply by zero, the product is ALWAYS zero.

Below are a couple of math worksheets that you can download and print for practicing this rule.  When our son was first learning multiplication, we'd tell him that Zero is like a hungry monster (or vampire) that eats all the numbers to multiply.

It helped him to understand and it may work for your child.  Each worksheet below builds upon that vampire/monster theme that we taught him.

The first worksheet is a simple multiplication fact guide that you can print out and have your child study to help with memorization.  The second one is a simple 'solve the problem' activity with the 0 factor appearing in both the first and last positions.

Click on the pictures to open a PDF file in another tab.

Basic Multiplication Rule 3: Multiplying by One

The last basic multiplication worksheet set will cover multiplying by one.  The rule is that every time a number is multiplied by one, the product is always the number that was multiplied.

Think of it as a certain number of items--in only ONE group.  For instance:

Most likely, your child will want to constantly add the one to the other product.  In the example above, our son would want to say that 3 X 1 is 4.

It helped a bit when we told him to think of multiplying by ones as simply counting.  When you see a factor is multiplied by one, just forget about multiplying and count.

So, 3 X 1, forget the one and count to 3.  Again, you have to use what works for your child.

Here is another worksheet set for practicing this basic multiplication rule. Click for a printable pdf.

For more help with this rule, you can review multiplying by one here.

Continue Learning Multiplication

I hope that these few rules will help your child as he or she begins to learn how to multiply.  I've created a lot more worksheets that cover more rules and tricks for multiplying numbers.

Below is just a small sample of the other multiplication lessons available to you on my site.  Be sure to check them out and don't forget to visit the multiplication homepage (link below) to see all of the multiplication lessons.

› Basic Multiplication Rules