Section 4: Seeing multiplication visually

Key Focus Question: How can you help pupils to see patterns in number?

Keywords: visualisation; multiplication; shape; imagination; sequence; planning; group work

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • explored multiplication with your pupils through visual means;
  • used rectangular shapes to help pupils understand factors;
  • used investigations to explore patterns in number series.


The ability to ‘see’ or visualise mathematical patterns is a basic skill for developing further understanding. It can also be an exciting process of discovery as pupils learn to see numbers and shapes in new ways.

This section shows you ways to help your pupils to ‘see’ actual shapes and patterns in numbers.

1. Working in pairs