Multiplication & Division
We all have memories of how we learnt our times tables as a child and the need for children to become fluent in this area of mathematics is still very important to their learning – not only in their primary education but also throughout their life as an adult.
Developing quick recall in this area is key to unlocking problem solving skills and understanding multiplication and division is important for gaining number knowledge. These skills are some of the most important to develop at home and are essential to help your child prepare for their end of Key Stage 2 assessments and the newly introduced multiplication assessment in Year 4.
Use these quick links or explore our jargon buster for simple definitions and examples of mathematical terms.
- Area/grid method is a way of visualising multiplication, as a first step towards formal written calculations, where numbers are set out in a grid.
- Arrays are shapes or objects arranged in a rectangle. For example, egg boxes and muffin trays are arrays.
- Common factors are numbers that can be divided into two different numbers. For example, the common factors of 12 and 18 are 1, 2, 3, and 6 because they all divide into both 12 and 18.
- Factors are whole numbers that will divide exactly into another number. For example 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12 are all factors of 12.
- Inverse operations means that we can use one operation to ‘undo’ the other. For example, multiplication is the inverse of division.
How to help your child at home
You don’t need to be an expert to support your child with maths! Here are four simple but effective ways to help your child develop their understanding of multiplication and division:
1. Explore practically
Use real objects to develop early understanding of multiplication and division. For example, use socks, gloves or ice-cube trays to count in twos, fives, or tens. Use egg boxes or muffin trays to explore arrays. Practise division by sharing beads between toys or arranging blocks into groups.
2. Practise times tables
Sing, chant or play games to help your child to memorise times tables. Give points for each fact they know. Use real-life opportunities to practise. For example, when you’re in the supermarket ask your child: ‘How many packets will we have if we buy 3 multipacks with 6 packets in each?’
3. Explain different methods
Ask your child to explain each stage of a multiplication or division and why they chose that method. They might use doubling or halving, apply times tables facts, use pictures to represent their calculations, or write their methods. Encourage them to estimate first and then check with a different strategy.
4. Go digital and beat the clock!
As well as the many resources available here at Oxford Owl, there are a wide range of online activities and fun games to help develop speedy recall of multiplication and division facts. The sites that are most popular are those that encourage children to challenge themselves against the clock or challenge their friends, classmates and even teachers. Speed is the key to success.
To help your child’s learning further, you may want to watch some of the videos included within our dedicated maths library. If you’re looking for more ideas to support learning at home, head over to our maths blog to explore articles full of top tips and fun activities.
What your child will learn at school
For more information about your child’s learning in a particular year group, use this handy drop down menu:
Multiplication & division in Year 1 (age 5–6)
In Year 1, your child will be expected to be able to solve simple multiplication and division problems using objects, drawings, and arrays to help them. This includes:
- counting in steps of 2, 5, and 10 and understanding that, for example, 3 × 2 is the same as 2 + 2 + 2
- sharing and grouping to solve division problems
- beginning to understand the relationship between multiplication and division.
Multiplication & division in Year 2 (age 6–7)
In Year 2, your child will be expected to use a range of methods to solve multiplication and division problems, including using practical resources and mental methods. This includes:
- knowing and using multiplication and division facts for the 2, 5, and 10 times tables
- recognising and identifying odd and even numbers
- using the symbols ×, ÷, and = to record multiplication and division calculations.
Multiplication & division in Year 3 (age 7–8)
In Year 3, your child will be expected to use a range of strategies to solve problems mentally and will begin to learn formal written methods for short multiplication and short division. This includes:
- knowing and using multiplication and division facts for the 3, 4, and 8 times tables
- multiplying two-digit numbers by one-digit numbers
- understanding that multiplication and division have an inverse relationship (i.e. they undo each other), and using this to check their calculations.
Multiplication & division in Year 4 (age 8–9)
In Year 4, your child will be expected to be able to use formal written methods of short multiplication and short division confidently. This includes:
- knowing and using multiplication and division facts for all times tables up to 12 × 12
- multiplying three-digit numbers by one-digit numbers
- multiplying three numbers together
- preparing for the Year 4 multiplication tables check in June.
Multiplication & division in Year 5 (age 9–10)
In Year 5, your child will be expected to be able to solve multiplication and division problems involving numbers up to four digits and begin to learn long multiplication. This includes:
- multiplying four-digit numbers by two-digit numbers
- dividing four-digit numbers by one-digit numbers and interpreting remainders
- understanding the terms multiple, factor, common factor, prime, square, and cube numbers.
Calculation in Year 6 (age 10–11)
In Year 6, your child will be expected to be able to multiply and divide with large numbers using formal written methods including long division. This includes:
- multiplying four-digit numbers by two-digit numbers using long multiplication
- dividing four-digit numbers by two-digit numbers using long division
- solving multi-step problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division choosing which methods to use and explaining why.