Teaching students to multiply mixed numbers can be challenging, especially if they struggle with fractions. Area models offer a visual representation that can make the concept easier to understand and remember. In this article, we will outline several activities you can use to help your students learn to multiply mixed numbers using area models.

**Activity #1: Fraction Bars**

Fraction bars are a powerful tool for teaching fractions, and they work just as well when teaching mixed numbers. Start by drawing a rectangle and dividing it into equal parts to represent the whole number. Then, divide each of those parts into the appropriate fraction. Use color-coded bars to represent the wholes and the fractions. For example, you could use one color for whole numbers, one for fractions, and another for the product.

Next, provide your students with mixed number problems to solve using fraction bars. For example, ask them to show what 2 ⅔ x 1 ⅓ looks like using fraction bars. Once they understand how to use the bars to represent the multiplication, have them create their own problems and check their work using the bars.

**Activity #2: Fraction Tiles**

Fraction tiles are similar to fraction bars, but they are physical pieces that students can manipulate. You can purchase fraction tiles online or create your own by cutting out squares of paper and coloring them to represent different fractions.

To use fraction tiles for multiplying mixed numbers, start by modeling how to multiply two fractions using tiles. Then, show how to represent a mixed number as a sum of a whole number and a fraction and how to use the tiles to multiply them.

Once students understand the concept, provide them with mixed number problems to solve using the tiles. Have them check their work by creating another representation of the multiplication using fraction bars or on paper.

**Activity #3: Roll the Dice**

This game is a fun and interactive way to practice multiplying mixed numbers using area models. Divide students into pairs and have each pair take turns rolling two dice. They should record the two numbers rolled as a mixed number and then use an area model to find the product.

For example, if a student rolls a 2 and a ⅔, they would draw a rectangle and divide it into two equal parts. Then, they would divide each of those parts into thirds and shade in the appropriate area to represent 2 ⅔. Next, they would roll another set of dice and repeat the process to find the product.

The first student to correctly find the product wins a point. The game can continue for a designated amount of time or until a student reaches a certain number of points.

**Activity #4: Real-World Examples**

Finally, provide your students with real-world examples of situations where mixed numbers need to be multiplied together. For example, you could discuss the cost of a certain food item per pound and ask students to calculate how much it would cost to buy a certain number of pounds.

Have students draw an area model to represent the multiplication and then discuss their process with their classmates. This will help them see how area models can be applied to real-world scenarios and make the concept more meaningful.

In conclusion, teaching students to multiply mixed numbers using area models can be challenging, but with the right activities, it can be both effective and fun. Consider using fraction bars, fraction tiles, games, and real-world examples to help your students master this important skill.