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MathBait™ Mastering Multiplication Part 1

Updated: Apr 14

Welcome to MathBait™ Multiplication Part 1! We are kicking off a week of amazing games, activities, and resources to help your students not only build lasting fluency through deep understanding, but have a blast doing it. Part 1 offers 9 activities and 3 digital games to help your students succeed.


To get started in part 1, students should be able to count, recognize numerals (1, 2, 3, ...) and preferably write numerals although it is okay if they have not yet perfected their writing skills.

Who is Part 1 For?

Part 1 is great for early learners (as young as 3) as well as older students struggling with multiplication or in need of review. Many of the games and activities provided include more challenging levels and are fun for the whole family!


In MathBait™ Multiplication Part 1, students will build on their existing knowledge of counting to work with multiples. Throughout our series we will never encourage memorization. Our activities each build on previous understanding allowing students to connect new knowledge to existing schema and promote long term retention. This removes anxiety and helps foster a love and enjoyment of learning.

Marco the Great and the History of Numberville

Ready to make learning math fun and engaging? Pick up your copy of Marco the Great and start your adventure today!

Select a lesson to view details and access our digital games. We recommend students play in the order provided for graduated levels of fluency. Bookmark this page to easily return for spiral review or a fun change of pace. For the best experience we recommend games are played in full screen mode which is not available on the Safari mobile application.

The Strange Flowers

Almost all math can be thought of as a way to count something. In fact, in A First Course in Abstract Algebra by John Fraleigh (a course generally taken by upper-level college students) the author states to "never underestimate a theorem that counts something". Abstract Algebra, Number Theory, and Analysis are all areas of advanced math with a huge focus on simply counting. Thus, the first step in building students a strong mathematical foundation is to teach them to count.

In this activity, students will be empowered by their existing ability to count as they extend to explore counting in new ways.

Warm Up: A Fairy Tale

Begin by reading this short story aloud to students.

Have you heard of Alice in Wonderland? If not, that's okay. It's the tale of a young girl who followed a rabbit down a hole to find a magical world of talking caterpillars, a grinning cat, and an evil queen. If you get the chance to read it you should. But... you should know one chapter was lost in the sea of Alice's tears. There aren't many of us left who know the true tale. Lucky for you, I'm one of the few! I'll tell it to you too. Although, it might sound a bit crazy if you don't know about counting. You can count right? Wonderful! Well what are we waiting for, let's begin.

On her journey, Alice came across a field of flowers. They were beautiful! There were yellow flowers and blue flowers and purple flowers and red flowers and orange flowers and even colors you've never even heard of or thought about. As she lay down in the field she began to count the dayflowers. 1-2-3... Just then she heard something, no someone, and they were counting too!

Image of a dayflower. A blue flower with two petals

She looked around the field but didn't see another soul. Starting again, she counted, "1".

"2" she heard.

"No not two!" Alice called out. "This is the first flower I have counted. I really must ask that you stop, you are going to make me lose my place." Brushing it off, she continued. "2".

"4" the voice sung.

"Now this is really getting to be ridiculous. I have not counted four flowers, I have counted only two! That one there, that is flower number 3."

"6". The number rang through the field. It was no longer one voice but a whole chorus singing out.

Alice had enough. She began frantically looking around to find the voices. Who was calling out these wrong numbers and why? Then she saw it. The dayflower slowly opened its eyes and stared right at her. "8" it said.

"Why won't you let me count?" she asked the dayflower.

"Because you are counting all wrong" the flower said bluntly.

"Wrong? Certainly not! It is you that is wrong! I counted you 3 here, 1-2-3. You stuck your nose in and counted 6. It is you that is wrong!"

Angry, Alice pushed herself up and walked across the field to a new patch of flowers, the beautiful yellow tiger flowers.

A yellow tiger flower with three petals

"Those dayflowers are mad! I'll count you instead." She pointed to the first flower. "1".

"3!" the flower sung.

"Are you batty too? I have just started! You are not 3 you are 1! And that flower over there, that is number 2!"

"6!" the tiger flower said firmly.

Alice huffed. "I have never met such a horrible flower patch before." And with that she stormed away.

Wonderful right? I mean this was an important part of Alice's journey to be lost forever. You are probably wondering why the flowers counted in such a strange way. Or do you already know? Oh look at that, I'm late! I am so sorry to run off but I really must go, I'm sure you can figure it out yourself... Good Luck!

After reading, ask students why they think the flowers counted in such a strange way. It's okay if they aren't sure. In the next activity, students will have a chance to dive into this idea more.

Activity 1: My Flower Patch

Provide students with paper and pencil and show them the image of the blue dayflower and yellow tiger flower (above). It can be helpful for younger students to also provide a basic sketch.

sketch of 2-petal dayflower and 3-petal tiger flower

Ask students to draw 3 or 4 dayflowers on their paper followed by 3 to 4 tiger flowers. When complete generate ideas of other ways we can count. Alice was counting how many full flowers there are, is there something different we can count as well? Help students as needed to see we could instead count the petals.

Count by 1's, adding a number to each petal. The first dayflower should contain 1 and 2, then second 3 and 4, and so on while the tiger flowers should contain 1, 2, and 3, followed by 4, 5, and 6.

Conclude by showing or discussing why the flowers counted in such a strange way. While Alice was counting how many whole flowers there were, the flowers counted by their petals. This meant the dayflowers counted 2, 4, 6, ... and the tiger flowers counted 3, 6, 9, .... Provide students with crayons or colored pencils and invite them to create their own flowers with strange counting. Tell students they are not limited to 2 or 3 petals, they can pick any they want, but make sure each flower has the same number of petals.

A sample worksheet and student response is provided below. If students need support in determining how their flowers would count, encourage them to write numbers in each petal counting by 1's. The largest number in each flower will be the number the flower says.

Download PDF • 753KB


In this first activity, students are introduced to a new way of counting. They see that there are different ways to count the same thing, in the case of the flowers, they can count the whole flower, or count its petals (or other parts). Students are building on their existing knowledge of counting to lay the foundation of multiples and multiplication. Encourage students to look for similar patterns all around them. What else can be counted in a new way?

The Whisper Game

The Multiplication Table

Skip Count Pop!



In MathBait™ Multiplication Part 1, students learned how to leverage their understanding of counting to skip count by 2's, 3's, and 5's. They then skip-skip counted to expand their abilities to 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10.

Allow students time to become comfortable in this phase of their mathematical journey. These games can be played before students are fluently adding and subtracting allowing them time to jump to other skills spiraling back to their skip counting ability. When students are comfortable with addition and subtraction, encourage alternative ways to skip count using patterns (rather than memorization). For instance, to skip count by 9's students can add 10 then subtract 1 (for example from 27 to 36 students can add 10 to 27 to find 37 then take one step back to 36).

Encourage skip counting as much as possible and highlight numbers in our daily lives. Play these counting games any chance you get. Make groups. Allow students to select group sizes. Provide them with lots of things to count creatively.

Remember, we aren't focusing on memorizing, or even being able to know that 4 groups of 6 make 24. We are extending and building on their existing ability to count. Give students time and support to feel confident counting by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. (Don't worry about 7's yet!)

Once students develop a strong foundation in counting they are ready to move onto Part 2.

The Kryptografima by MathBait Logo

We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our MathBait™ Multiplication series. There is so much to come!

For hundreds of games, missions, and loads of fun learning math, make sure to check out The Kryptografima by MathBait™.

NOTE: The re-posting of materials (in part or whole) from this site is a copyright violation! We encourage you to use these activities with your students. You can not take any part of these activities and post them as your own or crediting MathBait™ without written permission. This includes making derivatives for Teacher Pay Teacher or other websites. The material here is not considered "fair use". Thank you for respecting the author's rights.


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Thank you for visiting MathBait™! We would like to remind our visitors that we encourage the use of this material when working with students. However, our publications are not considered fair right. All the material on this website is copyrighted and cannot be copied or re-posted for commercial or non-commercial purposes without our permission. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

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