Teaching the properties of multiplication is not one of my favorites. Let me clarify that. Teaching the Distributive Property is not my favorite to teach. It’s the when, not the what – the first month or two of third grade when my students are still trying to get their brains around what multiplication actually is. I firmly believe if I could wait until December or January, it would make much more sense to them. That’s why spiraling is such a great practice! So, I designed a game for my students to play to review the Properties of Multiplication.
When you are working with a difficult concept in math, making a game of it helps kids learn while they are playing. So I created Link 4 Dinosaurs which works similar to the popular game Connect Four. Basically, students must link 4 really cute dinosaurs by matching a multiplication equation and the corresponding one on the game board. I have used primarily the distributive property, but also included the zero, identity, commutative, and associative just to keep them guessing and thinking!
So, that you can use it whole class or just in a small group, I have made 4 game boards of different colors. Each board has 16 cards and an answer key.
The different properties are randomly placed so students are continually challenged. My students loved this game and their conversations were amazing! They would talk it out as they tried to figure out which equation matched their card. This teacher was so proud!!!
All you will need for this game is one die, place markers like Unifix cubes, a game board, and the cards. 2 – 4 students can play at each board and begin by rolling the die to decide who goes first. Then each student takes a turn choosing a card and matching it to the dinosaur equation on the board. When they find it, they place their cube on it. The first student who links 4 in a row either vertical, horizontal, or diagonally wins! If no one does, the cards can be shuffled and students begin again.
Meanwhile, major understanding and practice of the Properties of Multiplication is taking place!
Link 4 Dinosaurs is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store at 20% off December 6th – 9th only. I think you will love the results and it might make teaching the properties a little bit more fun!