When my oldest was in elementary school, she 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, Brianna 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 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 Brianna 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 this printable for creating lattice math quick sticks that essentially create a lattice math calculator. Those were handy once she had the technique down.
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?