Home » Math » How To Teach Multiplication Using Area Model (Free Printable)

Area model is just one way of teaching multiplication. With a focus on place value, it is a great method for struggling mathematicians.

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Growing up I hated math. I wasn’t good at it. It didn’t make sense, and if you had told me then that I would have been a math coach and later writing a blog mainly on math….I probably would have laughed at you.

What changed??

I learned what place value was….and I began to use it to do math problems!!

The New Math

We will be trying out a new homeschool program/group come fall. One day last week there was an informational meeting about it, and I found myself next to a mom frustrated with new math.

“It takes to much time.”

“There is so much writing.”

“Why can’t he do it my way?”

It saddened me because I know that sometimes this new math seems cumbersome and awkward…but once the foundation is put in place, the possibilities are endless.

As a child, I would never have dreamed of having any mental math capabilities. But I do now. It began to develop when I taught my 4th and 5th grades students different ways of solving problems using place value. And most of this “new math” focuses on place value as strategies for solving problems.

So whether you are a frustrated parent trying to figure this out so your child can pass, or a teacher looking for the best way to teach multiplication….I’m asking that you give it a try.

What may seem crazy to you, may be exactly what your child needs to be successful in math.

Area Model and Base Ten Blocks

This way of multiplying two digit numbers by two digit numbers can easily be shown using base ten blocks too. As we work through a problem together I’m going to show you how to incorporate these manipulatives into this activity!!

Step 1

Take each factor and break them into expanded form. Then create a box. Across the top write out one of the expanded form expressions, and down the left side write out the other expression. Divide the box up to create a grid where each number has a box.

Step 2

Fill in the grid by multiplying each pair of numbers.

Step 3

Add up all the numbers in the box, and you have your answer.


It is as easy as that!!! And if you want other ways to solve multiplication problems…check out one of these posts!

Partial Products (very similar to area model without the boxes)

Teaching Multiplication Using Arrays

Get a free copy of step by step instructions HERE!