Multiplication strategies and the appropriation of computational resources

Bruce L Sherin*, Karen Fuson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This article proposes a taxonomy of strategies for single-digit multiplication, then uses it to elucidate the nature of the learning tasks involved in multiplication. In preceding work, it has generally been assumed that much of children's strategy development is driven by changes in their general conceptual capabilities relating to number. In contrast, we argue that, during the period in which single-digit multiplication is the focus of explicit classroom attention, changes in strategy use are primarily driven by the learning of number-specific computational resources. For this reason, we categorize multiplication strategies based upon the number-specific resources that are employed in their execution. To support our conclusions, we draw from a corpus of interviews with third-grade students that were conducted before, during, and after instruction in multiplication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-395
Number of pages49
JournalJournal for Research in Mathematics Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005


  • Children's strategies
  • Cognitive theory
  • Elementary, K-8
  • Learning
  • Multiplication, division

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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