How to Multiply by 3

Instructor: Rayna Cummings

Rayna has taught Elementary Education for 12 years (in both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University

Multiplying by 3 can be fun to do. In this lesson, you will learn different ways to multiply by 3 using skip counting, repeated addition, equal groups, and an array. So let's get going and learn those 3's!

Jump Into Multiplying

Quickly do three jumping jacks. Now do two sets of three jumping jacks. How many jumping jacks did you do in all? You did six - great job! Did you know that you just multiplied by 3? When you did two sets of three jumping jacks and counted the total number, you multiplied 2 x 3 = 6 or 3 x 2 = 6. Pretty cool, right?

Ways to Multiply by 3

Let's learn some different ways to multiply by 3.

Skip Counting

Skip counting is one of the ways you can multiply by 3. When skip counting by 3's, you say the numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, and so on. By doing this, you are actually multiplying by 3.

Skip Counting Multiplication Problem
3 3 x 1
6 3 x 2
9 3 x 3
12 3 x 4
15 3 x 5

Using skip counting, do you know what 3 x 6 will equal? 3, 6, 9, 12, 15... 18!

Repeated Addition

You can also use repeated addition, or adding numbers over and over again, to multiply by 3. For example, if you had the problem 3 x 2, you could add 3 two times and get the answer. So, 3 + 3 = 6 which is the same thing as 3 x 2 = 6. Now you try it. What is the answer to the multiplication problem 3 x 4 using repeated addition? To get the answer, you will add 3 four times like this: 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 to get the answer 12, making 3 x 4 = 12.

Using Groups

You can use equal groups, or groups that have the same number, to multiply by 3. Make three circles on your paper - this shows that we will be multiplying by 3. Now draw 1 dot in each circle. How many total dots do you now have? You have 3 dots and have just shown the multiplication problem 3 x 1 = 3. Let's try another one. Add 4 more dots to each circle - each circle now has 5 dots. Your picture now shows the multiplication problem 3 x 5 and when you add all of the dots together, you will see that 3 x 5 = 15! Fun, right?

Now, I want you to look at the picture below and write the multiplication problem that it shows. Don't peek until you are finished!

Group multiplying

If you wrote 3 x 8 = 24 you are correct. The picture shows 3 circles with 8 dots in each circle, showing a total of 24 dots.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account