Lesson 6: Distributive Property of Multiplication

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • What are some strategies we can use to multiply and divide?
  • How do we read and write in mathematical language?

Facts and Definitions

  • Distributive property of multiplication: math law that states that when given a multiplication problem, it's possible to break a factor down into easier numbers, find the products of the other factor with those easier numbers, and then add those products together to find the product of the original problem


  • Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide
  • Fluently multiply and divide within 100


  • abacus (kit)
  • calculator
  • counters (kit)
  • dice (kit)
  • drinking straws (kit)
  • fine point dry-erase markers (kit)
  • Interactive Notebook
  • small sticky notes (kit)
  • whiteboard (kit)


Materials: abacus (kit), calculator*, dice (kit), fine point dry-erase markers (kit), whiteboard (kit)
Give your child one die, and ask her to roll it three times. Each time she rolls a number, she will write it on the whiteboard. When she has three numbers written on the whiteboard, she will use them to write a number sentence that shows the associative property of multiplication by writing the numbers in the same order and drawing parentheses in different places. She will then find the product for each side of the number sentence. For example, if she rolls 2, 3, and 5, she might write (2×3)×5=2×(3×5) and then find the product of each side. (30) Ask, "Which side was easier for you to find the product for? Why?" Model this process for her as needed, and allow her to use the abacus or a calculator to find products that she doesn't know. The focus here is on modeling the associative property of multiplication.

Ask her to repeat this process three more times using the die and the whiteboard, as well as the abacus or a calculator as needed.