Students begin to explore the concepts of multiplication and division, beginning in the context of equal group and array problems, moving to skipcounting and repeated addition, and ending with more complex and/or abstract problems.
Math
Unit 2
3rd Grade
Unit 2 opens students’ eyes to some of the most important content students will learn in 3rd grade—multiplication and division. In this unit, "students begin developing these concepts by working with numbers with which they are more familiar, such as 2s, 5s, and 10s, in addition to numbers that are easily skipcounted, such as 3s and 4s," allowing the cognitive demand to be on the meaning of multiplication and division themselves rather than computing (CCSS Toolbox, Sequenced Units for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics Grade 3). Then in Unit 3, students will work on the more challenging units of 0, 1, 6–9, and multiples of 10.
In 2nd grade, students learned to count objects in arrays using repeated addition (2.OA.4) to gain a foundation for multiplication. They’ve also done extensive work on one and twostep word problems involving addition and subtraction, having encountered all of the problem types that involve those operations (2.OA.1). Students will rely on this foundational equalgroups understanding and orientation to solving contextual problems extensively in this unit.
At the start of this unit, students gain an understanding of multiplication and division in the context of equal group and array problems in Topic A. To keep the focus on the conceptual understanding of multiplication and division (3.OA.1, 3.OA.2), Topic A does not discuss specific strategies to solve, and thus students may count all objects (a Level 1 strategy) or remember their skipcounting and repeated addition (Level 2 strategies) from 2nd grade to find an unknown product. In Topics B and C, however, the focus turns to developing more efficient strategies for solving multiplication and division, including skipcounting and repeated addition (Level 2 strategies) as well as "just knowing" the facts, which works toward the goal that "by the end of 3rd grade, [students] know from memory all products of two singledigit numbers and related division facts" (3.OA.7). As the Operations and Algebraic Thinking Progression states, "reaching fluency in singledigit multiplications and related division may be quite time consuming because there are no general strategies for multiplying or dividing all singledigit numbers as there are for addition or subtraction" (OA Progression, p. 22). Because "there are many patterns and strategies dependent upon specific numbers," they first work with factors of 2, 5, and 10 in Topic B, since they learned these skipcounting sequences in 2nd grade. Then in Topic C, they work with the new factors of 3 and 4. Only then, when students have developed more familiarity with these factors, will students solve more complex and/or abstract problems with them, including determining the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers (3.OA.4) and solving twostep word problems using all four operations (3.OA.3, 3.OA.8), assessing the reasonableness of their answers for a variety of problem types in Topic D. Finally, the unit culminates with a focus on categorical data, where students draw and solve problems involving scaled picture graphs and scaled bar graphs, a nice application of the major work of multiplication and division. As the Progressions note, "these developments connect with the emphasis on multiplication in this grade" (MD Progression, p. 7). Students also solve one and twostep word problems related to the data in these plots, relying on the extensive work students have done with word problems throughout the year. This supporting cluster standard nicely enhances the major work they’ve been working on throughout the unit.
Throughout the unit, students engage in a variety of mathematical practices. The unit pays particular attention to reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, as students come to understand the meaning of multiplication and division and the abstract symbols used to represent them (MP.2). Further, students model with mathematics with these new operations, solving one and twostep word problems involving them (MP.4).
This introduction to multiplication and division is further deepened in Unit 3, when students will explore the more difficult factors of 0, 1, 6–9, and multiples of 10. Then, in Unit 4, students will explore area and its connections to these operations. In 4th grade, their understanding of multiplication and division will be even more rich, when they will come to understand multiplicative comparison and solve word problems involving it (4.OA.1, 4.OA.2). Further, they’ll solve multistep word problems involving all four operations, at times needing to interpret a remainder in the context of the problem (4.OA.3). Lastly, students will extend their computation prowess to multidigit numbers, multiplying a whole number of up to four digits by a onedigit whole number and two twodigit numbers, as well as dividing up to fourdigit dividends by a onedigit divisor (4.NBT.5, 4.NBT.6). Because multiplication and division provide a foundation for myriad algebraic and geometric topics from linear functions to trigonometry, this content is critical for all future mathematical learning.
Pacing: 24 instructional days (21 lessons, 2 flex days, 1 assessment day)
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The following assessments accompany Unit 2.
Have students complete the PreUnit Assessment and PreUnit Student SelfAssessment before starting the unit. Use the PreUnit Assessment Analysis Guide to identify gaps in foundational understanding and map out a plan for learning acceleration throughout the unit.
Have students complete the MidUnit Assessment after lesson 9.
Use the resources below to assess student understanding of the unit content and action plan for future units.
Before you teach this unit, unpack the standards, big ideas, and connections to prior and future content through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.
equal groups 
Example: 4 equal groups of 3 stars

array 
Example: 4 rows of 3

onetoone tape diagram 
Example: There are 10 teams with 4 students on each team. How many students are there on all of the teams?

tape diagram 
Example: There are 4 bags with 3 plums in each bag. How many plums are there in all?

picture graph 

bar graph 

array
divide/division
dividend
divisor
equal groups
factor
key
multiplication/multiply
product
quotient
row/column
scale
×
÷
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 2, view our 3rd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Topic A: The Meaning of Multiplication and Division
Topic B: Multiplication and Division by 2, 5, and 10
Topic C: Multiplication and Division by 3 and 4
Topic D: More Complex Multiplication and Division Problems
Topic E: Scaled Picture and Bar Graphs
Key
Major Cluster
Supporting Cluster
Additional Cluster
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1 — Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP2 — Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3 — Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4 — Model with mathematics.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP5 — Use appropriate tools strategically.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP6 — Attend to precision.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP7 — Look for and make use of structure.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP8 — Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
Unit 1
Rounding, Addition, and Subtraction
Unit 3
Multiplication and Division, Part 2
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