Activities to Teach Students to Multiply One-Digit Numbers Using Grids

As teachers, we know that teaching multiplication can be a challenging task for some students. Indeed, for many younger learners, this type of mathematical operation can seem overly complicated and abstract. However, with the right resources and strategies, it’s possible to make multiplication an enjoyable and accessible subject for students of all ages. One method that can be particularly effective is teaching students to multiply one-digit numbers using grids.

What are grids?

Grids, also known as arrays or tables, are a powerful tool for teaching multiplication. Essentially, a grid is a rectangular array of squares, similar to a chessboard. By using grids, students can visualize multiplication problems more easily than they can with abstract symbols alone.

How to Teach Multiplication Using Grids

To teach multiplication with grids, follow these simple steps:

1. First, draw a grid on the board or distribute printed grids to your students.

2. Next, write a multiplication problem at the top of the grid. For example, 3 x 4.

3. Have students color or shade in the squares in each column and row according to the factors in the multiplication problem. In the example above, students would shade in three of the squares in the first column and four of the squares in the first row.

4. Once students have shaded in the appropriate squares, ask them to count the number of shaded squares in the grid. The total number of shaded squares is equal to the solution to the multiplication problem. In the example above, there are 12 shaded squares, so the solution is 12.

5. Repeat this process with different multiplication problems, gradually increasing the difficulty as students become more confident with the concept.

Benefits of Teaching Multiplication Using Grids

There are many benefits to teaching multiplication using grids. Here are just a few:

1. Visual aid: Grids help students to visualize multiplication problems more clearly, making the concept more accessible and concrete.

2. Hands-on learning: By shading in squares on the grid, students engage in hands-on learning that reinforces the concept of multiplication.

3. Differentiation: Grids can be easily adapted to meet the needs of different learners. For example, for students who struggle with multiplication, educators can provide a grid with fewer rows and columns to simplify the problem.

4. Engagement: By using grids, educators can add an element of playfulness and fun to the learning process, which helps to keep students engaged and motivated.


Learning multiplication can be a daunting task for some students. However, with the right resources and strategies, it’s possible to make this subject accessible and enjoyable for learners of all ages. By teaching students to multiply one-digit numbers using grids, educators can provide a visual aid that engages students in hands-on learning and reinforces key multiplication concepts. So, try incorporating grids into your multiplication lessons and watch your students’ understanding of this important mathematical subject flourish.

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