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MathBait™ Multiplication

Magic Trick

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What's cooler than magic? Math! -Spiderman
While math is pretty cool, this activity presents multiplication as an amazing magical skill students will be eager to learn. Show off your multiplication abilities as you amaze students and get them excited about finding products.


Resource Type


Primary Topic

Dual Processing







This activity is ideal for younger students without multiplication experience.

Provide students with sortable items (candies, math counters, number blocks, anything will do). Tell them that without counting, only looking at their objects for no more than a few seconds, you will be able to tell them how many they have. Allow students to select the number of items they wish to take and instruct them to organize their items into groups of their choice (2's, 3's, or 5's) and determine how many items they have in total.

When students have completed their organization, demonstrate the magic trick. More magician flair will increase engagement and disbelief! Cover your eyes to ensure there is no cheating and announce their number using the organization of their groups and multiplication.

Explain that skip counting is powerful. This is a power they already have! Now it is time to take their amazing ability to the next level. Today they will practice how to find the total number of items by skip counting. Connecting back to the warm-up, group items into 4 piles of 2. Count the items by 1's to make sure students agree there are 8 items. Then, skip count the piles by 2's and show you still arrive at 8, but more quickly. As you count, raise a finger for each multiple of 2 to show students the fourth number we say when counting by 2's is exactly how many items occur in 4 groups of 2.

If time permits, allow students to play with the idea for 5-10 minutes, making their own piles and counting to see that 6 groups of 3 make 18 total or 7 groups of 2 make 14 total (allow students to explore freely and share what they found).

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