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Multiplication word problems

This is a complete lesson for third grade with teaching & word problems with the aim of teaching children some basics about multiplication word problems. The basic idea is that we have groups of same size, and children need to just recognize those groups, whether they be towels, pizza slices, balls, or whatever. The word problems in the lesson also involve addition and subtraction so that students need to think, and not apply the operation at hand (multiplication) without even reading the problem.

  7      7 
  7       7
There are seven
rocks in each box.
That is a total of

4 × 7 = 28 rocks.

Each house has five
people living in it.
How many people
live in the houses?

3 × 5 = 15 people.

The SAME amount of something IN EACH thing is often solved by multiplying.

Example problems

1.  Write a multiplication sentence to each problem and solve.  You can draw pictures to help you.

a)  Four children are playing tennis together. They all brought six balls. How many balls do they have total?



b)  The Smith family has five members. Each member has a small towel and a bath towel. How many towels hang in the bathroom?
c)   The Jones family orders four pizzas to eat. Each pizza is sliced into four parts.  How many pizza slices do they get?



d)  A town has three post offices. In each post office there are five
workers. How many workers do the post offices have in total?

Word problems with two operations

Mr. Johnson usually eats three meals a day.  How many meals does he eat in a normal week?

Again, we have the situation of EACH DAY the SAME thing happens.

7 days × 3 meals a day = _____ meals in a normal week.

This Friday he skipped breakfast.  How many meals did he eat during this week?

Now one day is different.  It is only ONE day though, so we just subtract the one meal from the total.

days times meals take away the skipped
7 × 3 1 = ______

In the following week, he ate three times on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and four times on the rest of the days.  How many meals did he eat during the week?

Now we have the one kind of situation three times, and the other kind of situation four times.  We calculate those separately, and then add.

days times meals and rest of
the days
times meals
3 × 3 + 4 × 4 = ______

Example problems

1.  Fill in the numbers to the number sentences for each problem, and solve.  For the last problems, write the number sentence yourself.  You can write words above the numbers to describe the numbers.  You can also draw pictures to help you!

a.  Mommy bought four egg cartons, and each had six eggs.  Two of the eggs were bad. How many good eggs did Mommy get?

times eggs
in each
bad ones
× =
b.  Johnson's ordered 4 pizzas again, sliced into four pieces each. This time the dog ate one piece. How many pieces did the people eat?

number of
times pieces in
what the
dog ate
× =
c.  Joe has three friends who all have five toy cars, and then two friends who only have two cars. How many cars do Joe's friends have?

5 cars
times 5 cars and friends
2 cars
times 2 cars
× + × =
g.  On a family dinner table there are two plates for everybody, and only one plate for little Hannah.  10 people and Hannah came to the dinner .  How many plates were on the table?




h.  There are four horses, and three people.  How many feet are there total?




This lesson is taken from Maria Miller's book Math Mammoth Multiplication 1, and posted at www.HomeschoolMath.net with permission from the author. Copyright © Maria Miller.

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