Multiplication word problems


CCSS.Math.Content.4.NBT.B.5 Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, and multiply two two-digit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations. (Common Core Standards)

H.3-5.3     Describe the North Dakota Native American Essential Understandings. (US State – ND – Social Studies 2019 Standards)


In this integrated lesson, students learn about responsibilities of children in traditional Dakota society and discuss their responsibilities today. They learn a problem-solving strategy that can be applied to a wide range of situations, including mathematics. Students play Spirit Lake: The Game. In levels 1 and 2 of the game, players solve multiplication problems set in the context of a story based on the history and culture of the Dakota people. After this lesson, students will be able to solve word problems using multiplication of one-digit numbers and understand the general application of problem-solving steps. If students will be completing the assignment in class, print out pages 11,12 and 14 for assessment. On-line classes can complete these problems in Google doc or other method used by the teacher for assignments.

Technology required

The game in this lesson plan, Spirit Lake, can be played on Mac or Windows computers. Once students have logged in, they can continue playing, even if the Internet drops. The program should be installed on devices before the lesson. Students will create a username and password the first time they play the game. If students need to play offline, they can play the Spirit Lake demo (Mac or Windows) or Spirit Lake Beginnings – Lakota (Windows only). Throughout the game, students will be faced with decisions and math computations. If students do not have access to a Mac or Windows computer, they can watch the video here.

Time Required

30-40 minutes

Lesson Plan

1. Presentation on responsibilities and problem-solving

Begin with the PowerPoint presentation discussing student responsibilities. Also available as Google slides. Discuss with students the responsibilities they have at home. Explain that whether students are baking a cake or solving a multiplication problem they can take the same four steps to solve their problems. Time: 5-10 minutes depending on length of student discussion.

2. Practice

Complete multiplication table independently 1-2 minutes

3. Game Play

Play the Spirit Lake game, Levels 1 and 2 or one of the demo games. If students do not have access to a Mac or Windows computer, they can watch the game play and problem video here and the instructional video here. Estimated time: 10-15 minutes.


Individual Assessment

Have students work independently to solve the problem in the PowerPoint or Google slides linked above. Have students present their solutions. Show one recommended solution that is in the presentation. Estimated time: 5 minutes

Group Assessment

Continue with the PowerPoint presentation or Google slides. Students will work in groups to solve 4 multiplication problems. Estimated time: 5 minutes

State Standards

Minnesota Math Standard – Multiply multi-digit numbers, using efficient and generalizable procedures, based on knowledge of place value, including standard algorithms.