Long multiplication is when you multiply two numbers, such as a 3-digit number times a 2-digit number, and you show all the steps by first multiplying by the ones digit, then by the tens digit, then adding together those partial products to get the final answer.
This is a very structured step-by-step method, so it is important for students to be able to follow the process in the correct order. I wondered if Google Sheets could be used to guide a student through the steps, help keep all the numbers organized properly, and provide feedback if the student does something wrong.
The answer is yes!
What I did was create some sheets that allow a student to type in the original multiplication problem, and then using hidden columns, custom formulas, and conditional formatting, it provides the student with feedback each step along the way.
Below are links to access view-only copies of the sheets. You can simply click “File” then “Make a copy” to make your own copies to edit.
- Type in your 2X2 or 3X2 multiplication problem in the gray boxes, one digit per box
- Multiply by the ones digit and put your results in the yellow boxes
- Multiply by the tens digit and put your results in the blue boxes
- Add those numbers and put your results in the green boxes
- Any wrong answers will be marked in red
- When done, delete all your numbers to start over with a new problem
Feel free to make copies of these Google Sheets templates to use with students learning long multiplication. I would love to hear any suggestions for improvement or feedback on results.