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Multiplication is a skill expected to be well-developed in a student from grade 3 onwards. This arithmetic operation speeds up counting the objects by grouping them instead of counting them individually. Though meant to simplify things, the operation ends up giving sleepless nights when children are not fluent with number sense or are diagnosed with dyscalculia. However, using teaching tools like board games for multiplication can help ease the learning difficulties.
A study on multiplication beginners reveals that there is a need to change the teaching pattern from encouraging rote memorization to familiarizing the students with the deeper meaning of these operations. According to this study, the researchers call the students to be proficient in multiplication when they exhibit fluency and flexibility with this operation. Further, if they are able to make practical sense of a simple equation like ‘3×4=12’, it can make them more confident.
Role of board games in teaching multiplication strategies
Building the elements of proficiency in multiplication depends primarily on encouraging students to know and internalize the strategies to solve the multiplication problems. Interestingly, strategy build-up becomes possible to achieve when the classrooms are providing conditions for collaborative thinking. This kind of thinking is promoted well by board games.
Asking children about strategies to solve the multiplication problems and assessing ways to reach to the conclusion through number talk sessions are one way of helping a child attain strategic competency. While playing board games, these discussions become easier to start.
In addition to these, playing with board games has also proved effective in meeting the computational fluency building objectives.
Let’s pick board games for multiplication in this article to find how these are helping in making children multiplication fluent.
Advantages of using board games for multiplication
Board games are used in a routine manner as a part of dyscalculia activities too, to help children learn multiplication operation. Their importance has also been revealed in a study at Campbell University , that tells that board games are practical teaching tools effective in developing strategy formation ability and boosting practical learning.
So, once you have understood the importance of board games in learning multiplication, you might want to know about the options available and their role in multiplication skill-building.
We have curated for you here some classic and innovative board games for multiplication that can help students become fluent in doing this math operation.
Best board games for multiplication
1. SAY Cheese – Math Board Game to Master Multiplication Tables
Solve the multiplication questions to win goodies! This multiplication board game gives suitable learning assistance to the kids who want to learn various strategies for solving the multiplication tables based problems.
The players can practice as much as they want and will not feel bored while trying to score better than the competitors. The game is designed to enable applying math facts, patterns knowledge, and addition skills to reach to the answers and grab the goodies.
Best advantages of playing this board game for multiplication are:
- Children become confident multiplication operators
- They become fluent in applying concepts
- They grasp the practical meaning of doing a multiplication problem
- They move from memorizing to strategizing that strengthens their understanding
2. Multiplication game – Monster Sock Factor
Help the monster send the consignment of socks of different numbers using the multiplication skills. This board game for multiplication enables easy grasping of multiplication concepts and turns the study hour into an enjoyable fun learning hour.
By doing simple calculations, and using various strategies, they boost their mental math skills. Parents can also intervene and encourage kids to tell about the strategy they used to reach the answer.
The game is designed to offer the practice of adding numbers to find the answer to the multiplication problems, thus, the kids are able to understand and see for themselves what simple equations like 3×4=12, or 5×4=20 (hypothetical examples), look like in real. So, the kids get practice, learn strategy, know about alternative methods and attain fluency eventually in the multiplication process.
3. PET ME for Multiplication and Division math board game
Distribute foods to the pets and own them while you move through the course of the game! This board game for multiplication trains the players in finding the similarity between the results of, say 5 x 5 = 25 and 25/5 = 5. Also, by following instructions like give 5 food items each to five pets, the players can understand how 5+5+5+5+5 equals 5×5. Means, using addition and division as alternative strategies for solving the multiplication helps children to move from simply memorizing to applying the concept.
This board game has all that it takes to avoid the math scare in children. The players get to group the items, divide the items, and reduce the number of items to understand what the mathematical signs like multiplication and division really imply. With a playful environment and collaboration of ideas, they can get a break from decoding the problems conventionally, and build concepts more sustainably in the process, in a manner they can easily relate with.
4. Proof! Math Game
Playing with numbers and building strategies to establish a relationship between them through signs allow the players to learn application of mathematical operations of all kinds including multiplication. The players are given a set of cards carrying numbers in this game. They need to arrange the numbers to make a mathematical equation and shout the answer. The focus is on using as many cards as possible to create an equation.
This board game for multiplication and other operations can make children confident of using operational symbols, strategize arriving on solutions and learn the application part. The reward of winning more cards enables them to work out the brains and use numbers in various relationships. Apart from multiplication, children can learn division, subtraction, and even square roots!
5. Learning Resources tri-FACTa Multiplication & Division Game
Do signs of addition, multiplication and division confuse you? This game is designed to dissolve away that confusion. The players can actually learn how relationships among numbers change with the change of sign. They can understand the number patterns, and build literacy of arithmetic signs using this board game for multiplication. Apart from understanding the implied functions of the signs, children can be fluent in choosing the numbers to put next in a series or pattern.
Multiplication series solving allows developing an understanding of sequences and patterns. The game allows adopting a progressive way of acquiring multiplication skills as the challenges start with the easiest and become tougher to enable stimulation of the mind as per the competence level achieved.
Regular practice brings fluency in operations and flexibility in choosing strategies, allowing the students to work up their brains and gain more agility in understanding number relationships and solving multiplication equations.
6. Multiplication Bingo
8 ways of playing this board game for Multiplication offers the teachers a fun-filled way of enticing students into practicing the operations like multiplication and division. Players are led by a facilitator who reads out an equation. They calculate the answer in mind and then find the corresponding number on the card given to them and cover it with a chip provided. The players have to make 8 kinds of patterns as per the rule decided to win the game.
This board game for multiplication allows players to understand and apply inverse relationship with division and multiplication operations. Also, number matching, eye-hand coordination, understanding patterns, and knowledge of math fact families are some of the added advantages that children can enjoy by practicing multiplication on this game. With ample practice and regular use, children can become confident in moving on to more complex challenges.
7. Sieque – The Multiplication Cue
What a cool way to learn multiplication! This board game for multiplication allows you to become fluent in mental calculation and number identification. You pick a card, sound out the equation written on it, and try to locate the number fast on the card. The fastest locator wins the card.
Children can work up their brains to think and calculate fast, identify numbers fluently. This game can be modified with the introduction of strategies by doing number talk at the start. Teachers can allow the students to take time and think about other ways to reach the product of the multiplication operation.
Common outcomes of using board games for multiplication
Board games are expected to deliver different results when these are played in different environments, such as in-class with teachers, at home with parents, or at parties with friends. The magnitude of an outcome may be different, but nature may be the same and is most likely to comprise:
a. multiplication concept reinforcement
b. ease of tackling problem of varying complexities
c. boosting decision making abilities
d. increase in comfort, confidence and agility with multiplication operations
Speed, accuracy, comfort, and confidence – with these virtues earned by playing, the math scare is quite likely to disappear from the mindset. The board games, therefore, work as a complete teaching solution when the teachers want to impart learning but without the kids realizing the drill.
- Extracted from the abstract of a journal article, ‘Getting Children on Board using Board Games to Support the Curriculum’, Campbell University
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