Mulltiplication with Sticks


Curriculum Alignment (Basic3):

B3.1.2.5 Demonstrate an understanding of multiplication up to 5 x 5


B3. Represent and explain multiplication using rectangular arrays;



Multiplication is often a difficult concept for learners when they are first introduced to it. Many children continue to scribble and count dashes in the margins of their papers for many years. Here is a very simple and low-cost tool that teachers can use to help learners understand what multiplication actually is.




Materials needed:


- Straws or similar long, thin sticks; pencils can also work





This material is ready-to-use; here are suggestions for teaching:  




1. Introduce a multiplication  problem, for example 2x3=…




2. Ask a learner to place 2 straws vertically; these are the ‘legs’.




3. Ask another learner to place 3 straws horizontally across; the ‘arms’.



4. Now, ask them to count the number of intersections: 6. So: 2 times 3 makes 6.




5. You can also point out that the intersections are vertically arranged in 2 groups of 3.




6. To demonstrate that 3x2 also equals 6, you can ask them to arrange a set of 3 legs and 2 arms: now the intersections are arranged in 3 groups of 2.   


7. Learners can also work in small groups and set problems for each other:


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