Alternate Multiplication Algorithms

Students today develop proficiency with many different algorithms for multiplication. This approach insures that each student will find a method that works effectively for him/her. Teachers model the different algorithms and encourage students to use and practice each method before selecting a favorite.

Lattice Multiplication

This algorithm works well for students who are developing multiplication fact fluency. Students may begin using a template to solve multiplication problems, but they quickly learn to draw their own lattice matrix to solve problems. Students love the method and it is very successful with both whole numbers and decimals. Teach students this multiplication algorithm as one of many different algorithms they may elect to use.


  • Student writes the problem in the grid (e.g. 6 x 417).
  • Student then writes the answer to each single digit multiplication in the appropriate square.
  • The tens digit is placed above the diagonal; the ones digit below the diagonal.
  • When all squares have been completed, the student sums the numbers between each set of diagonals, and writes the sum at the bottom of the grid. NOTE: If the sum is greater than 10, regroup the ten to the next diagonal to the left.
  • The student can now simply read the answer from left to right and insert commas, as appropriate.


Templates:   Three different templates are included for Lattice Multiplications.   Templates are designed to be used in sheet protectors.   This strategy allows students to use dry-erase markers and re-use the same paper for many multiplication problems.

Napier's Bones

Once students are comfortable with lattice multiplication, Napier's Bones is a great enrichment activity. Students order the bones as they would write the problem in the lattice. They are then able to read the answer without any writing. It's magic!

Internet Links

Check these resources for more information on Lattice Multiplication and Napier's Bones.