Practicing Multiplication with Hot Dots

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SWBAT practice their multiplication skills using Hot Dots

Big Idea

Tools such as Hot Dots can help students practice their multiplication skills.


10 minutes

In today's lesson, we review multiplication.  The students have learned to multiply by showing their work with array models.  I find that the more practice that a student can get, the better chance they have at mastering a skill.  This aligns with 4.NBT.B5 because students multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, then illustrate with an array.

I let the students know that they have a chance to practice on multiplication.  Before we do that, I ask the students, "What is multiplication?"  I let the students think about the question for a minute.  I encourage my students to always take a few minutes to think before they respond to a question.  I have the students share their responses with the people sitting at their groups.   I then take a few responses from the students.  I hear right away the multiplication is repeated addition.  That is the main response that I wanted to hear. 


Whole Class Instruction

10 minutes

After taking a few responses, I call my students to the carpet.  By bringing them closer to me, this gives me a feel of how well they are paying attention and it gives the class a feel of togetherness.  

I let the students know know that today, they will practice their multiplication in centers. This aligns with MP5 because the students will use appropriate tools strategically.  I inform them that at the computer center, they must choose a site that uses arrays or other models (such as place value) to multiply. By allowing the students to choose their own site, it makes them responsible for their own learning. At the listening station, the students use multiplication cds to help them learn more multiplication facts.  (Common Core tells us that there should be an equal intensity of procedural and conceptual understanding.  The students need to know the meaning of multiplication as well as know their multiplication facts.)  I let them know that one of the centers will be using Hot Dots.  (Hot Dots come in several subjects.  Our students are familiar with Hot Dots because it is a tool that our school uses quite often.)  I remind the students that they need to use arrays and think about the properties of multiplication to help them solve their multiplication problems at their centers (4.NBT.B5).

Before sending the students to the centers, I show a video to remind the students of the meaning of multiplication.


A video on how to use Hot Dots can be found at this site:

Group Activity

30 minutes

Before the students are sent to their centers, I explain each one to the class.

Listening Center:

(Before class, I set out my radio, headsets, headphone adapter with 8 connections, and multiplication compact disks (cds) to have them ready for the students.)

I let the students know that at the listening center, they have several multiplication cds to choose from such as songs and raps.  I tell them know that I want them each to put on their headsets and practice the multiplication along with the music.

Computer Center:

At the computers, I let the students know that they can choose any site they want to use to practice multiplication.  I ask the students to find sites that not only give them multiplication problems, but model for them using arrays or other models, such as place value. (I feel that students take responsibility for their own learning when allowed to have a choice.)

Hot Dots:

With Hot Dots, the students have card sets for a subject, such as multiplication.  The students select their answer using the electronic pen.  The students receive instant feedback on whether their answers are correct.   A video on how to use Hot Dots can be found at this site:

At the Hot Dots center, I really want my students to understand the meaning of multiplication, as well as know their multiplication facts.  With the Hot Dots the students can play a game. The rules of the game are as follows:

1. Deal each student the same number of cards.

2.  Take turns finding the product of the   multiplication problem. Use the Hot Dots pen to check your answer.

3.  If you get the answer correct, place the card in a stack in the center of the group.  If you get it wrong, put the card back in the stack in your hands.

4.  The first one who gets the answers correct to all of the multiplication cards wins.


After explaining each center, I divide the students into groups for the centers.  I send a group of students to the computers to choose a site to practice their multiplication.  I send students to the listening center to practice multiplication with music.  The remaining students are in groups of 4 at their desk.  Each group at their desks receives Hot Dot pens, multiplication cards, and the Hot Dots Game Rules (displayed on the SmartBoard). In this picture (Students using Hot Dots), you can see the students using the Hot Dots.

The students rotate centers at 15 minutes.  I want all of the students to participate in all of the center activities.  Therefore, there are 3 rotations.  



10 minutes

To close the lesson, I bring the students back together as a whole class.  We discuss their experiences at each center.  This gives the students an opportunity to share their voices.  

To assess their knowledge and understanding of multiplication (properties, models, etc.), I have the students write me a paragraph.  

Writing Prompt:

Explain the meaning of multiplication.  Tell about your experience of rotating to the different centers and if that experience helped in your learning.      

The paragraphs are collected and used to plan future lessons.