Have your students learned their multiplication facts? Challenge them to a game of Factor Pair Up and let them show off their skills. This two-player game combines factors and products with strategic planning. There’s no time-limit so the key to winning is making good, mathematical decisions. This game works equally well with the entire class or one on one. You may also assign Factor Pair Up for independent work.

The game is played on a square board. Each small square contains a number that is the product of two factors. One factor is predetermined. The second factor is up to the player. The product of the two factors is then covered with a disc. The goal is to capture three or four products in a line before your opponent does.

Factor Pair Up has options that can accommodate students with a range of ability. There are two board sizes, a 6x6 grid that includes factors 1 through 9 and a 5x5 grid that includes factors 1 through 7. Another option alters an important rule of the game. In the advanced version, a player may capture an opponent’s product. This can lead to greater planning and strategy. In the standard game, products may only be captured once. You can further differentiate your instruction by giving students a multiplication chart to use.

Screenshot of Factor Pair Up Player 1 or Player 2? Who will find the winning clue?

This game is best played when the concept of multiplication is well understood and your students are comfortable with mental computation. Factor Pair Up will help your students learn the more challenging multiplication facts as well as build automaticity. You can use the strategic components of the game to ask questions that will lead to some thoughtful discussion.

  • Is there any advantage to going first? Why or why not?
  • How did you decide which product to capture first?
  • Did you try to block your opponent’s moves? Was this effective?
  • How did you respond when your opponent blocked your moves?
  • Which rule did you prefer, capturing or not capturing your opponent’s product? Why?

Factor Pair Up has many connections to the Common Core standards for grades 3-5 and covers topics in both Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Number and Operations in Base Ten. Some of the key standards are:

  • Multiply and divide within 100 (grade 3)
  • Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems (grade 4)
  • Gain familiarity with factors and multiples (grade 4)
  • Generate and analyze patterns (grade 4)
  • Analyze relationships (grade 5)

How will you use Factor Pair Up in your classroom?