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MathBait™ Multiplication

The Beat

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Add some music to your lesson while helping students intuitively understand multiples! In this activity, students count to the beat to make observations on what numbers appear in different skip counting patterns.


Resource Type

Warm Up

Primary Topic

Dual Processing







Place students into three groups. It is helpful to have each group sit in a circle and situate groups as far away from each other as possible, but still within earshot.

Start with simple clapping. The goal is for students to stay on beat (which can be quite challenging so it is okay if everything doesn't work out perfectly, they will still learn and have fun!). Begin clapping a slow and steady beat and have students join in. Once everyone is in-sync (or as close as possible), announce we will now add numbers to our claps. Each clap is counting by 1. Practice a few times clapping and counting. 1-2-3-4-5... to at least 20.

Explain that each group will be assigned a number to count by (2, 3, or 5). The 2's will only call out the numbers we get when counting by 2's. Connect it back to The Whisper Game. If needed, students can continue to whisper the in-between numbers. Similarly, the 3's will only call out the numbers we get when counting by 3's, and same for the 5's. Play a few times to try get everyone in-sync. Ask students if there are any numbers multiple groups both said (6, 10, etc.). Have students hypothesize why this is. Connect back to the activities they previously completed in MathBait™ Multiplication Part 1 when they learned they could count by 4's, 6's etc. by skip-skip counting.

Play a few times before asking students what we should count by to have more numbers in common. Assign groups new values. Give groups a few minutes to strategize together and practice their counting. Teachers can decide what values to give, we recommend the following:

  • 2, 3, 5

  • 2, 4, 5

  • 2, 4, 6

  • 2, 5, 10

  • 2, 4, 8

Alternate groups so the same group of students don't always have 2. Have students both predict what numbers multiple groups will call out as well as discuss the results afterwards.

The game may very well get out of hand, and there will likely be lots of laughter. It is okay if students aren't able to stay "on beat". The exercise alone has them practicing skip counting, and thinking about how different numbers relate to each other which is a win.

If needed, to calm and recenter students, consider having them quietly fill out a skip counting (multiplication) table before continuing to the next activity.

Note, this activity is helping students build a strong foundation for multiplication. When a number appears in more than one pattern, this is a multiplication fact! Notice 6 is said counting by 2's and 3's because 2×3=6. At this time in MathBait™ Multiplication, students have not yet been formally introduced to multiplication, our goal is to help intuitively build this understanding to make the transition easier.

The material on this page is copyrighted by MathBait™. Please use and enjoy it! MathBait™ provides a temporary license for Non-Commercial purposes. You are not permitted to copy, distribute, sell, or make derivative work without written permission from MathBait™. 

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