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MathBait™ Multiplication

Turn Around

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Move to discover commutativity! In this activity students use movement and skip counting to "prove" the commutative property of multiplication while also developing their own strategies and preferences for multiplication.


Resource Type


Primary Topic

Dual Processing







This is a fun activity that can be used as students continue to increase their fluency.

Play can happen inside using a piece of paper or outside with chalk. Place students in pairs and have each pair face each other. Between them (on paper or with chalk) write out a number of groups and how many in each group, such as 3 groups of 5. Players should read from left to right. One player will see "3 groups of 5" while the other in the mirrored position will see "5 groups of 3". Have each player skip count to find the total (in this case one student will count 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 while the other will count 5, 10, 15). Then, yell out "turn around!" Players switch positions to now complete their partner's part.

When students are introduced to the formal multiplication sign, the game can be played again using 3×5 and 5×3 instead. Switch up values and play again. Then allow each student to play on their own, starting from one side and jumping to "turn around" and completing the other.

The goal of this activity is to help students see the power of the commutative property of multiplication. The massive multiplication table is cut in half with this power. Have students reflect on which "turn around" they like more. This helps students to self-identify their own strategy.

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