Emily is a Reading Specialist and Literacy coach in a public elementary school with a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.
Box Method for Multiplication
The box method is one way to solve a multiplication problem with two, three, or even more digits. It's an alternative to traditional multiplication, which takes many steps and creates lots of opportunities for mistakes along the way. Try this method and see if you like it!
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Steps for Using the Box Method
The first step is to write both of your numbers in expanded form, which means you separate the hundreds, tens, and ones by putting a big plus sign in between each one. Below is an example that you can check out:
After you've written your numbers in expanded form you're ready to draw your box. You'll know how many boxes to draw based on the number of digits, or single numbers, in the numbers you're multiplying. For example, if your problem is 46 x 958, you will need 2 boxes down (for 46) and 3 boxes across (for 958). Write your expanded form numbers on the outside of the boxes, with one part per box.
Now you simply start multiplying individual numbers to fill in the boxes. In the example problem, you would first multiply 40 x 900 (a quick trick: multiply the first number only, then add all the zeros to your answer. So, 4 x 9 = 36; then add the three zeros to make your answer: 36,000). Next, 40 x 50 = 2,000, and 40 x 8 = 320. Write all of your answers in the top row of boxes. Then repeat with the next row (6 x 900, 6 x 50, 6 x 8). Your boxes will now be full of numbers. You're ready for the next step.
Finally, you add all of the numbers in your boxes together and you have your answer. So, for the problem 46 x 958, you will have six numbers to add together, as you can see in the diagram below:
From this lesson, you've learned how to use the box method of multiplication to solve multiplication problems with more than one digit by first writing your numbers in expanded form, then multiplying individual numbers, and finally adding all of the numbers together. You now know what expanded form is - you separate the hundreds, tens, and ones by putting a plus sign in between each one - and that digits are single numbers. This is a great way to solve a multiplication problem quickly and easily with less room for mistakes.
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The Box Method for Multiplication
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