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How to Complete the Multiplication Sentence

Instructor: Audrey Akins

Audrey has more than a decade of experience teaching elementary. She has a bachelor's in journalism and a master's in education.

Multiplication is a skill that can help you save time when you're adding large or small groups of numbers together. This lesson will focus on completing multiplication number sentences when different parts are missing.

Multiplication Sentences

To get started, first you should know that the parts of the multiplication number sentence are the multiplicand, multiplier, and the product. The multiplicand is the first number. The multiplier is the second number, and the product is the answer.

Let's look at some different types of multiplication number sentences and learn how to complete them.

First Number Missing

For this lesson, let's pretend you're making baskets of cookies to give away. If you had a total of 18 cookies and wanted to give baskets of cookies away with 9 cookies in each basket, you would need to know how many baskets you could make.

Your number sentence would look like this: ___ x 9 = 18. If the first number is missing, divide the last number by the second number to get the number you need to complete the multiplication number sentence.

Divide the last number by the second number to get the missing number.
multiplication sentence first number missing

In this number sentence, 2 completes it, so you could make two baskets of cookies. You could also skip count by the smallest number, which is 9, up to the biggest number, 18. It would look like this: 9, 18. From there, count how many numbers you have, which is 2. Your answer is still 2.

Second Number Missing

Another time you're making baskets of cookies, you know you want to make 3 baskets and that you have 15 cookies, but this time you need to know how many cookies to put in each basket. Your number sentence looks like this: 3 x ___ = 15.

Divide the last number by the first number to get the missing number.
multiplication sentence second number missing

When the second number is missing, you can use almost the same exact process you used in the earlier example. You can divide the last number by the first number. The answer, 5, will complete this number sentence. So you would put 5 cookies in each basket.

Skip counting by the smallest number, 3, up to the biggest number, 15, is also an option. You would get 3, 6, 9, 12, 15. Then count how many numbers you have. Your answer is still 5.

Last Number Missing

The last time you make baskets of cookies, you know that you want to make 6 baskets with 4 cookies in each. So now you need to determine the amount of cookies you need to bake. Your number sentence is 6 x 4 = ___.

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