I had a child who had trouble grasping multi-digit multiplication done the traditional way. I think it was keeping all those columns straight and remembering when and where to add zeros. Thankfully, we discovered lattice multiplication. It looks much different than the way most of us learned to multiply multi-digit numbers, but it makes sense – and it makes it much easier to keep all those columns straight.
After several months of using the lattice method of multiplication, my son was able to go back to the more traditional method and use it successfully. Lattice multiplication was a fantastic tool for helping it all make sense, though. I’m a firm believer in the idea that all kids don’t learn the same way, and if there are different ways to reach the same answer, why not explore them?
So, if you have a kid who is struggling with traditional multiplication methods, I’d encourage you to investigate lattice multiplication.
What is lattice multiplication?
I’m one of those visual, hands-on sorts, so I thought this YouTube video would do a much better job of explaining lattice multiplication than I could.
Why does lattice multiplication work?
I’ve got to be honest. I never really cared how or why lattice multiplication worked. I was just glad it did. For those left-brained types, though, this video from Kahn Academy does a good job of explaining the hows and whys of lattice multiplication.
Resources for lattice multiplication
When my son was regularly using lattice multiplication, we found a couple of really useful tools. First, it was much easier to work problems on large square graph paper (we like the 10X14 size). All she had to do was box off the correct number of squares and add the diagonal lines.
Next, we found these printable lattice multiplication templates.
Lattice multiplication with decimal points
We never used lattice multiplication with decimal points, but it’s just as simple as the regular method. Just watch this video to see:
Have you ever used lattice multiplication? What was your experience? Do you have resources to share? Please leave them in the comments below!
Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Road Trips, Love These Recipes, and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 31 years ago, and they live in the South. They have three adult children. Hannah, age 27, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 25, was the second homeschool graduate and the first to leave the nest. Mary Grace, age 19, was the last homeschool graduate. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow a garden every summer with limited success. (But she's learning!)