How to Teach Double Digit Multiplication

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Need a way to teach double digit multiplication that will work for some students that aren't quite catching on? This lesson goes over several different methods and shows some examples.

Teaching Two-Digit Multiplication

Sheri has been teaching first grade for several years, but recently made the switch to fourth grade. Even though it's the same school, and she already knows most of the students, it's a big change. Lately, she's run into some issues teaching double digit multiplication - something she never had to worry about in the lower grade.

She found teaching the traditional method doesn't work for all of her students and wants to learn additional methods to try with students that are having difficulty. Of course, Sheri also knows that these lessons should only be attempted after the student knows the multiplication tables well, and how to multiply a two digit number by a one digit number.

Sheri discovers several ways to teach the multiplication of 2 two digit numbers. Each of these methods seems to have a number of different names and they're often used interchangeably. The most common names for the alternate methods she found are box method, area method, and lattice method. Let's take a look at these methods. We'll also take a look at the traditional method.

Box Method

In the box method the single complicated multiplication problem is broken up into four easier multiplication problems. The four resulting products are then added to get the final answer.

Multiplying 12 by 35 would look like this:

12x35 10 2
30 10 x 30 = 300 2 x 30 = 60
5 10 x 5 = 50 2 x 5 = 10

300 + 60 + 50 + 10 = 420

After one or two practice problems, most students can skip writing the multiplication steps and the box method would look like this:

12x35 10 2
30 300 60
5 50 10

300 + 60 + 50 + 10 = 420

Area Method

Sheri notices that the process for the area method is almost exactly the same as the box method, but is likely to work very well with visual learners. The method works best with graph paper initially, but it is not necessary. The problem is graphically split up into four areas which correspond exactly to the four numbers from the box method. The areas are added together to get the multiplication product of the two original numbers.

2 Digit Multiplication: Area Method
area method

Lattice Method

The lattice method starts off with a similar concept as the box method but ends up looking very different.

2 Digit Multiplication: Lattice Method
lattice method

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