How to Do Double Digit Multiplication: Steps & Practice Problems

Instructor: Mia Primas

Mia has taught math and science and has a Master's Degree in Secondary Teaching.

In this lesson we will look at different strategies for multiplying numbers with two digits. After reviewing a few examples, you will take a quiz to practice what you learned.

One Goal, Different Methods

As a teacher, I have the challenge of teaching to students that have different learning styles and abilities. For this reason, I need to offer them more than one strategy for solving a problem. Some students prefer a systematic process, while others prefer to use visual aids. It is also important for students to understand why the process works, rather than simply to follow the steps that I show them. In this lesson, we will practice three methods to multiply double-digit numbers. They are the box method, distribution method, and column method. You can then decide which one you prefer to use.

Box Method

While the column method is the most commonly used strategy for multiplication, the box method is useful for understanding why the column method works. For this reason, we will look at the box method first.

  • Example 1: Find the product of 34 and 12.

The first step in the box method is to write each number in expanded form. Expanded form is a way of writing numbers that shows the value of its digits. For example in the number 34, the three is in the tens place so it is written as three tens, or 30. The four is written in the ones place so it has a value of four ones, or simply 4. Putting the numbers together, 34 is expanded as 30 + 4. In the same manner, the number 12 is expanded as 10 + 2.

Once the numbers are expanded, each number is written in a box, such as the one below. To fill in the boxes, we multiply the numbers that represent the row and column for each box.

30 4
10 300 40
2 60 8

The final step is to add the numbers in the boxes together, giving us 408. Therefore, product of 34 and 12 is 408.

Distribution Method

  • Example 2: Find the product of 45 and 27.

The distribution method uses a similar strategy as the box method, but without having to draw the boxes. Instead the numbers are written in expanded form, then placed in parentheses.

Setting up the distribution method to multiply 45 times 27

Next the distributive property is used to multiply the numbers. The distributive property tells us to multiply each number in the first set of parentheses by each number in the second set of parentheses. Lastly, we add the numbers together to get the final answer.

Using the distribution method to multiply 45 times 27

Column Method

The column method is the most common method used. Once it is mastered, it is faster and more efficient. To use the column method, the numbers are written one beneath the other, so that the numbers in the ones place line up in a column, as do the numbers in the tens place. Let's see how the column method would have worked for our first example.

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