*Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may make a commission from qualifying purchases at absolutely no cost to you. Read our full Disclosure Policy here.*

Have you ever tried to memorize something that didn’t make any sense to you or had no context? Virtually impossible, right? Having students memorize math facts is kind of the same thing.

While I would argue this is important for making the more complex multiplication strategies easier, we need to teach our students some basic **multiplication facts strategies** first. These help students memorize (and make sense of) the math facts so they will stick.

But, more importantly, these strategies will stay with them even when the can’t memorize, or they simply forget, a fact.

## How to Introduce Multiplication

Before we can begin asking students to memorize multiplication facts, we first need to make sure they *understand* what happens when we multiply.

Students need a clear understanding that multiplication is repeated addition, or adding groups.

I like to use visuals/models and words alongside the multiplication question so they can really see what is happening.

## Basic Math Facts Strategies

There are a few foundational skills that students need to know before they can successfully work on the trickier times tables. Knowing these will make all the rest so much easier!

### Multiplying by Zero and One

Students will understand very quickly using strategies like the image above that anything multiplied by one is itself and anything multiplied by zero is zero.

### 5 and 10 Times Tables

Knowing the 5s and 10s makes all other multiplication facts as well as more complex, multi-digit multiplication so much easier.

The good news is, these are generally easy ones to master.

### Skip Counting

Students will likely begin with skip counting as a stepping stone to repeated addition and then multiplication strategies.

### Multiplication Squares

Memorizing the squares of each number – 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 and so on – is a great jumping off point for quickly calculating the more challenging multiplication facts when combined with some of the strategies below.

## Multiplication Facts Strategies

Confession – I haven’t memorized all my multiplication facts. However, I use the following mental math strategies to let me calculate quickly and effectively when needed.

The more these strategies are practiced, the more efficient students will become at finding the answers. The more these strategies are practiced, the more math facts students will begin to memorize and they will rely less and less on these strategies.

NOTE: A few strategies below talk about adding one more *set*. If students haven’t grasped the foundational concept of multiplication, this can be challenging. Without this, they will likely try to **just add 1 rather than 1 set** and won’t understand why that’s not correct.

### Doubles

Knowing doubles of numbers is perfect for the **two times tables** (obviously). But it is also super helpful for others too. Becoming comfortable with doubling each number can help with not only the 2 times tables but also the 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12 . . . and maybe more!

An easy method to help with multiplication fluency of the **four times tables** is to help students understand that when we multiply by 4, we are simply multiplying by 2 and then multiplying by 2 again. So double then double.

### Double Plus One

Knowing doubles also helps with **multiplying by 3**. Double Plus One helps students solve the 3 times table easily by doubling (times by two) and then adding one more set.

For example, if we were trying to calculate 3 x 4, we could double 4 (8) then add one more set of 4 (8+4=12).

### Double and Halve

This strategy requires a little more frontloading before most students will really have a solid understanding of how and why it works but it’s worth it as it helps with multi-digit multiplication as well.

Take the time to use manipulatives, visuals and let students experiment with it.

We can double one number and halve the other. This works well if one number is larger, or more challenging for the student to work with.

For example, Kaileigh doesn’t know her 3 or 4 times tables but is great at doubles. 3 x 4 is the same as 2 x 8.

Sami struggles with larger numbers so doesn’t know 5 x 8. They could convert this to 10 x 4 as they find multiplying by 10 easy!

### One More Set

We can always add ** one more set** to a multiplication fact that we know well. The key is to make sure students think in sets, not absolute numbers. This comes back to only memorizing multiplication facts or using ‘multiplication tricks’ after students understand multiplication.

5 x 7 is 5 sets of 7. So one more/less set would be another 7. The actual value of one more/less in these strategies will change depending on the question.

For example, if Tilly doesn’t know how to **multiply by 6** but knows her 5 times tables well, she can solve 6 x 7 by knowing 5 x 7 plus one more set. So that would be 5 x 7 = 35 + 7 = 42.

### One Less Set

Just like the last multiplication strategy where we used a multiplication fact we knew and added one more set, we can also subtract one set.

For example, Rodrigo needs to find 9 x 7. He hasn’t mastered the **9 times tables** yet but he does know that 10 x 7 = 70. He can simply take one set (of 7) away from 70 to get 9 x 7 = 63.

#### Mental Math Strategies Anchor Charts

We’ve created a set of anchor chart posters with multiplication tricks or strategies, for 2 – 12 times tables math fact fluency so you don’t have to!!

The set includes colour and black & white options. Post in the classroom for a visual reminder or have students put them in their math notebooks for quick reference.

## Final Words on Mental Math Multiplication Strategies

I hope you found some useful ‘tricks’ to help your students memorize as many of their math facts as possible and, most importantly, have the tools they need to quickly and effectively calculate the basic multiplication facts when needed.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure students have a solid understanding of the ** concept** of multiplication before trying to teach multiplication strategies. Without this, they will simply get confused.