The Box Method for Multiplication

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Emily Hume

Emily is a Reading Specialist and Literacy coach in a public elementary school with a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

Multiplication--even with big numbers--can be easy! With this lesson, you will learn how to multiply two- and three-digit numbers using a simple, easy technique called the box method for multiplication. With this method, you can multiply large numbers without all the usual steps involved!

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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  • 0:03 Box Method for Multiplication
  • 0:22 Steps for Using the Box Method
  • 1:55 Lesson Summary
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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:

Expanded Form Image with Blocks
Expanded form Image with Blocks

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.

Box Method with Multiplication Problem
Box Method with Multiplication Problem

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