One my favorite methods for teaching multi-digit multiplication is known as the area method. I did not always use this method in my classroom but when I came across it years ago I started using it. I can tell you from my experience in the classroom that kids get this method so much better than the traditional method that most of us learned in school.
The main difference between the area method and the traditional algorithm is that the problem is set up differently. Most kids have an easier time visually following the area method over the traditional method. They can focus on the problem one step at a time. It is also a great strategy because it encourages mental math and understanding how numbers work.
Here is my video on how to solve a problem using Area Method:
Area Method is a great stepping stone to traditional multi-digit multiplication and other methods. Usually after kids are successfully multiplying with the area method I will teach them the traditional method. I also love to teach the lattice method. Once my kids can use all three strategies I usually have them pick the one they like to use best when solving problems.
Sometimes I will have students pick two strategies when solving a problem. This is great for kids that frequently make computational errors because it helps them improve their accuracy. If they find that they are getting two different answers then they know they made a mistake somewhere along the way. This usually prompts them to go back and check their work.
I frequently hear from parents that they don’t want to confuse their children by teaching them a different way. Strong math students are able to think flexibly about a math problem and use many different strategies to find a solution. Teaching your child different ways to solve math problems is valuable. Even if it seems like it is confusing them at first, in the long run it is to their benefit to be able to think flexibly about math. I like to think of math instruction as building a mental toolbox of different strategies that kids can use to aid in their success.
I encourage you to give the area method a try with your kiddo. I hope you find this method as beneficial as I have found it to be. Share your thoughts about this method below in the comments and subscribe to the blog for more educational videos.