Multiplication Anchor Chart: Teaching Multi-Digit Multiplication to Students

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Today I’m sharing my multi-digit multiplication anchor chart for fifth graders that I use to help teach three-digit by two-digit multiplication.

Multi-digit Multiplication Is A Hard Concept

My class this year has missed quite a few prerequisite skills before reaching fifth grade. And let me tell you, in Texas, fifth-grade math is tough! This is not the year for my kids to be low. There is (unfortunately) so much that rides on passing the Staar test in fifth grade and I’m willing to do whatever I can to get them to only have to take that test once. That might be wishful thinking, but I am definitely going to strive for it.

A lot of my students don’t even realize they are low. I mean, they are 10 and 11 years old. I didn’t know my math level when I was that age. One of my favorite conversations to have with them is the whole “math builds upon itself through the grades.” It gives them a perspective on how important each year of their education is. I, especially, have this conversation when we begin three-digit by two-digit multiplication.

How I Start Teaching Multi-Digit Multiplication

We go over, in small groups, a few problems together. We then talk about how important it is to start from the beginning and work our way up, making sure we have mastered all of our prerequisite skills. I also put it in the perspective that if they haven’t yet mastered one digit by one digit multiplication, they can’t even begin. Then, if they don’t know how to do a two-digit by one-digit multiplication problem, they haven’t learned the process. The same goes for a two-digit by two-digit. You have to understand the steps you have to take to complete the problem. Lastly, if you don’t know your complex addition, you will struggle to solve the problem.

It’s hard for kids to understand how easily impacted their education can be. Once having this conversation with my kids, they get a little glimpse into the world of mathematics. After talking briefly, I teach them the four steps you must take to complete a multi-digit multiplication problem. After a few times of practicing, (and I ensure all prerequisites have been met), they are extremely successful.

Steps on The Multiplication Anchor Chart

Step 1Multiplication Anchor Chart: Teaching Multi-Digit Multiplication to Students

Multiply the number in the ones place by all top numbers.

*After this step, I tell them they are done with that number. Therefore, they can erase or scratch out the number and any numbers they may have carried.

Step 2

Add the zero- mark your place (also known as dropping the egg).

Step 3

Multiply the number in the tens place by all of the top numbers. This is essentially the same as the first step.

Step 4


This is a great way to teach the multiplication process to your lower-performing kids. Sometimes kids just need to see things in a new way.  This multiplication anchor chart on a simple poster board is a great tool.

Share if you have had anything else work for you and your students.

If you want to see more teaching ideas, visit our teaching page.  Also, check out my top 10 anchor charts post!

Multiplication Anchor Chart: Teaching Multi-Digit Multiplication to Students

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