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This lesson provided by:
Author: Kem Steward
System:Bessemer City
School:Greenwood Elementary School
Lesson Plan ID: 26430

Properties of Multiplication


This lesson will introduce students to three of the four properties of multiplication. It will provide practice for students to identify and distinguish between the properties, and solve multiplication problems using each property.

This lesson plan was created by exemplary Alabama Math Teachers through the AMSTI project.

Content Standard(s):
TC2(3-5) 1. Use input and output devices of technology systems.
TC2(3-5) 5. Practice safe use of technology systems and applications.
TC2(3-5) 6. Describe social and ethical behaviors related to technology use.
MA2013(3) 3. Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem. (See Appendix A, Table 2.) [3-OA3]
MA2013(3) 4. Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. [3-OA4]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will identify and use the three properties of multiplication to solve problems: associative, commutative, and identity properties. They will work cooperativly to distinguish between the properties and to solve multiplication problems.

Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 61 to 90 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

  • pencils and paper, per student
  • index card/price tag, one per student
  • string/yarn
  • 8.5 x 11.5 paper to make 4 signs, one with each property name written/typed on it
Technology Resources Needed:

  • Compter with Internet access
  • LCD projector or Interactive Board, if available
  • Plug-ins that are located in the help section of Alex
  • overhead projector for use of overhead calculator (optional)
  • calculators (per pair) (optional)
  • digital timer (optional)

The students should have some experience with solving multiplication problems.

The teacher should prepare in advance:

  • 4 signs that contain the name of each property of multiplication: communtitive, associative, distributive, and identity. (These can be laminated for future use.)
  • On each index card/price tag, write a number sentence that contains one of the properties of multiplication, one per student. Then punch two holes on each side of the index card, and string the string through each hole to make a necklace for each student. (These can be laminated for future use.)

The teacher will introduce the properties of multiplication by showing a fourth grade student podcast on Then the teacher will review each property (commutative, associative, and identity), giving examples of each on the board, and allowing students to practice solving each equation. The teacher may want to briefly introduce the distributive property because it is included in the interactive activity below.

Explore: The teacher will post a sign for each property in the four corners of the classroom (distributive property is optional). Next, the teacher will distribute the pre-made multiplication necklaces to each student to place around his her her neck. The students should carry their Math Journal and a pencil with them during this activity. The students will identify the multiplication property that he/she is wearing and go to the corner that matches the property. For example, if the necklace card reads: 4 x 3 = 3 x 4, then the student should go to the corner that has the posted sign, Commutative Property. A timer can be used to give the students a time limit to find their correct place (2-3 minutes).

Explain: Once all the students are in the corner that they think matches their property, they should discuss with the other students in the group why their necklace matches that property. If a student ends up in the wrong corner, the group must agree on the correct corner in which he/she must go. In their Math Journal, the students should write their property name, and list all the equations that are written on each necklace. Then the teacher can collect each necklace redistribute them to continue to practice. After 1-2 rounds, the students can return to their desks to solve each equation listed using paper/pencil. They can exchange papers with group members and use a calculator check answers.

Extend: The students can practice their knowledge of the properties of multiplication by completing the interactive lesson on In this activity, the students identify each property of multiplication according to the given example. This activity is timed, so students can set goals for mastery within a specified time limit.


  • The teacher can present the attached slide show, whole group, and call on individuals to identify each property.
  • The student can print the results from the interactive lesson.
  • The teacher can use the attached checklist to evaluate the students ability to distinguish between the 4 properties of multiplication. This can be used to evaluate the Explore Activity and the Math Journals.  

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. ChecklistforthePropertiesofMultiplication.doc
Assessment Strategies:


  • The teacher can present the attached slideshow, whole group, and call on individuals to identify each property.
  • The student can print the results from the interactive lesson.
  • The teacher can use the attached checklist to evaluate the students ability to distinguish between the 4 properties of multiplication. This can be used to evaluate the Explore Activity and the Math Journals.
Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
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