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MathBait™ Mastering Multiplication Part 2

Updated: Apr 14

Welcome to MathBait™ Multiplication Part 2. In Part 1, we focused on skip counting and building an understanding of how numbers relate to each other. In this edition, students will begin processing two pieces of information: how many in each group and the number of groups. In Part 2 we provide 13 activities and 3 digital games with loads of replay-ability and lots of fun to be had.


Students should complete MathBait™ Multiplication Part 1. They should be able to fluently skip count by 2, 3, and 5 and be familiar with skip counting by 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 using the strategies presented and identifying the relationship between numbers. It is totally okay (encouraged even) to spiral between Parts 1 and 2.


In MathBait™ Multiplication Part 2, students will be introduced to the word multiple and build on their previous understanding of skip counting to identify products. Students need not memorize nor be able to recall all products quickly. In each game and activity they are building fluency through understanding. This will not only help them in the short-term of multiplication, but in the long-term in working with fractions, square roots, factoring, and more.

Select a lesson to view details. 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.


In this activity, students will begin to translate their understanding of skip counting to multiplication. As the title implies, students are encouraged to use their fingers.

Warm Up: A Riddle

Announce to students you have a riddle for them to solve. You created a new PIN code but forgot to write it down. Being so excited about all the skip counting you've been doing, you developed the PIN code in the following way:

  • The first digit was the 4th number you said when counting by 2's

  • It was followed by the 5th number you said when counting by 3's

  • The final digits came from the 6th number you said when counting by 5's

Allow students time to try to decode the riddle. Encourage them to skip count and track the numbers on their fingers. They should arrive at the code 81530.

If time permits, provide additional riddles for students to practice. Students can also make their own riddles and trade them with a partner to solve.

Activity 1: Magic Trick

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).

Activity 2: Fingers

Provide students with a writing utensil and pad. A mini-whiteboard and dry erase marker works great, but anything that allows students to transcribe their number and hold it up will do.

The leader will stand at the front and announce what they are counting by. Write the value for all to see. Turning their back to the players, the leader will count by their value mentally and raise a finger for each number they count. The leader will select when to stop. When students notice the leader has stopped, they must quickly write down the value and hold it up before the leader turns around. All students who have the correct number gain a point and play continues.

For example, if the leader announces they are counting by 2's and stops with 6 fingers up, students should count along by 2's to write down 12, as counting on each of the 6 fingers gives them 2-4-6-8-10-12.

After each round, announce the groups: "We found 6 groups of 2 is 12."

We recommend game-play starts with focusing only on counting by 2's, 3's, and 5's. As students get the hang of things, they can utilize their skip-skip counting to increase the difficulty. When advancing to 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10, pause for a quick round of The Whisper Game. Have students whisper "2" before raising the first finger to call out 4, before raising the second finger whisper "6" and call out 8 when the next finger is raised. This more challenging game can be played later after students have worked with our digital games Fingers and Skip Pop to gain more fluency.

Our digital game is great for independent practice. Game-play follows the same flow, but in the digital game students can watch as the computer counts out the values, reinforcing their understanding.

If students are having trouble skip counting mentally, use the digital version and allow students to continue to skip count aloud. Encourage students to use their own fingers to mimic the game. Remember we are building fluency which does require practice and exposure. However, it is important to celebrate small wins and avoid placing pressure on students. We want them to have fun. They are building their brain muscles and just like other muscles they need to exercise them!

©MathBait created with GeoGebra


Students are now starting to understand the idea of multiplication by building on their existing understanding of skip counting. They are strengthening their skip counting skills as they must now skip count silently or "in their head".

Multiplication requires keeping track of two values, the size and number of groups. By using their fingers, students are given an aid to help process the increase in information. Because multiplication is commutative (4×6=6×4), this struggle can go unnoticed in students and can compound to cause errors and anxiety. If your student is struggling, start with a modified version of the game where both the number we are counting by and how many are displayed. For example, if counting by 2's six times, allow students to first raise 6 fingers, then count each finger by 2's. This will help strengthen student ability to process multiple pieces of information at once.

Utilize spiral review. Go back to games in MathBait™ Multiplication Part 1. This acts as a great review but also a confidence builder. With increased exposure, students build confidence when they return to a lower-level game and find it much easier then they did the first time around. Fingers can also be played as a general warm-up.

Bid a Win

Hide and Seek

Rainbow Multiples


At this time, we encourage students to stay at this level for a few weeks. Use the games as warm up activities or as a fun change of pace. Amp up Rainbow Multiples to Level 2 to further push their skills. Remember, students are now processing multiple pieces of information at once (both the number of items in a group and how many groups) and it will take some exercise to build their brain muscles. Still avoid encouraging memorization, however with more practice these relationships will become easier to recall instantly. The key difference is this recall is built on a strong foundation of understanding and previous knowledge. This will not only help the memories to last, but help students to maintain multiple strategies and relationships (such as 6 is both a multiple of 2 and 3 or we can count by 4's by skip-skip counting 2's).

Our next step will be to formally introduce multiplication. Due to the series of activities students have completed, this will not seem like a jump but rather a confidence booster as students will feel like they already know all about it!

If working with very young students, this is a good time to begin interweaving other topics while coming back to these activities for review. This is a great time to help students build a strong understanding of place value and continue to grow their addition skills if needed.

Stay tuned for the continuation of MathBait™ Multiplication. We hope your students enjoy these games and activities as much as our students do!

Marco the Great and the History of Numberville

For even more fun with numbers pick up your copy of Marco the Great!

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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