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Grid Method Multiplication

What is grid method multiplication?

Grid method multiplication is a written multiplication method that involves partitioning numbers into ones, tens, hundreds, etc. It is called the 'grid method' because the calculation is laid out into a grid, with one row and column for each place value.


How does grid method multiplication work?

When children first start using the grid method, they usually start with multiplying a one-digit number by a two-digit number.

The two-digit number is partitioned into tens and one, which will then each be multiplied by the multiplicand.

For example, for the calculation 27 x 4, the '27' is partitioned into 20 and 7. These are then both multiplied by the '4', adding the two products together to find the answer to the calculation (108):

Grid method multiplication

When do children learn the grid method?  

Children generally start learning how to use the grid method when they enter KS2. By this time, they should have a secure enough understanding of place value to be able to multiply multiples of 10 and 100 by a single digit. For example, they should know that if 3 x 5 = 15 then 3 x 50 = 150. This understanding makes the grid method a great introduction to more formal written multiplication methods.  


Grid method for Year 3

In Year 3, children should use the grid method to multiply a two-digit number by a one-digit number, then progressing to a three-digit by one-digit calculation, as shown here for the calculation 481 x 7:

Grid method Year 3

Grid method for Year 4

Children can start using the grid method in Year 4 to start multiplying a two-digit number by another two-digit number. In order to do this, they will need to partition both the multiplier and the multiplicand. For example, here is how to use the grid method for the calculation 45 x 26:

Grid method year 4 | 2-digit by 2-digit

Once children have mastered the method, they can go on to multiply two-digit by three-digit numbers, or even three-digit by three-digit calculations.


Grid method in Year 5 and Year 6

Generally, by the time children reach upper KS2 and are used to working with larger numbers, they will start to use more efficient methods of multiplication, such as short multiplication. However, the grid method is still a valuable method to use to solve and check calculations.


Grid method multiplication games

As with any written multiplication method, repeatedly doing boxes and boxes of calculations can get tedious for little learners! A fun grid method multiplication game is to give children the same three numbers cards, then challenge them to order the digits into a multiplication statement that gives the highest product they can find. Children can use the grid method to solve their calculations, then compare the answers they found, gaining a point if they found the highest product.

To up the challenge, give children four or even five digits at a time. Can you get a higher product using a three-digit by one-digit calculation, or by multiplying two two-digit numbers together?

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