My fourth-grader still struggles with her math facts. We’ve tried just about everything to help her “get it,” but nothing has worked as well for us as this super-simple hands-on skip counting bar I created on a whim.
If your children struggle with multiplication facts, I hope they find this number line helpful, too!
Skip Counting Number Line
- Clay number manipulatives (go here for the tutorial) or use counters like these and write numbers on them with Sharpie markers.
- Marker or pen
Turn the paper so it has the landscape orientation.
Draw a line all the way across the paper about 1/3 from the top of the paper using the marker (keep it straight with a ruler).
Draw a parallel line about 2 inches below the first line.
Divide the bar into 10-12 equal-sized boxes (we did 10 to fit our manipulatives).
Under each box, write a number from 1-10 (or 12).
Decide what number to skip count. In our example, we used four.
In the first box, place a 4 button. In the next box, place an 8. Add the clay buttons for each corresponding multiplication fact until the bar is full.
Have your child repeat the skip counting numbers in sequence until she/he has them memorized. You can also ask your child to say, “1 times 4 equals 4” and so on to solidify the fact that skip counting and multiplication are the same. I have my kids repeat each sequence until they can say them both ways without thinking (4 times 1 and 1 times 4, for example). I also mix up the facts randomly to make sure they remember them without having to count all numbers in the sequence.
My daughter still struggles with some of the larger numbers (7s and 9s mainly), but we’ve had a lot of success using this method. Something about using the manipulative rather than writing the numbers seems to make a difference in her memory. We’ve also used these same clay buttons to create multiplication arrays.