# Skip counting

Skip counting is a method for counting. Typically, we first learn to count by adding 1 number at a time. As we get more comfortable with this and we want to count to larger numbers faster, we can instead use skip counting. Skip counting involves counting by a whole number greater than 1. As such, skip counting is also sometimes referred to as "counting by twos (fives, tens, etc)".

Examples

• Skip counting by twos beginning with 2 : 2, 4, 6, 8, ...
• Skip counting by fives beginning with 5 : 5, 10, 15, ...
• Skip counting by tens beginning with 25 : 25, 35, 45, ...

Skip counting can also be used to count down rather than up.

## Skip counting methods

On top of just adding (or subtracting) each number in your head as you go, it can also be helpful to visualize skip counting using number lines and tables. Using either allows us to see certain patterns in the numbers.

Skip counting using number lines works better with smaller numbers. The larger the numbers, the more inconvenient it will be to use a number line. Below is a figure showing skip counting by 2s on a number line.

In the figure above, we can see that starting from 0, and skip counting by 2 five times gets us to 10 (0 + 2 = 2, 2 + 2 = 4, 4 + 2 = 6 ...). We can continue counting this way as long as we'd like, but if we are counting to a larger number, it would be more efficient to use a larger whole number to skip count.

Another way to look at skip counting is through a table. When learning multiplication, it is fairly common to use some form of a multiplication chart. We can use a similar table, usually containing the numbers 1-100, to look at patterns for skip counting.

Skip counting by 10:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Skip counting by 5:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Skip counting by 6

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Skip counting by 3:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Looking at the tables above, we see that the 4 numbers used exhibit different patterns. However, the two pairs (5 & 10; 3 & 6) above show some overlap. The table for 5 includes all the values for the one in 10 in addition to those for 5. Similarly, the table for 3 contains all the same values as the table for 6. This makes sense since 10 is a multiple of 5, and 6 is a multiple of 3. As such, while it is not particularly common, skip counting, particularly through use of tables that depict these patterns, can be used as an alternative method for conceptualizing multiplication.

## Skip counting and multiplication

Learning to skip count can be a helpful step towards learning to multiply. In the number line example above, we skip counted by 2 from 0 to 10. There are 5 "skips," which tells us that we have to skip count by 2 five times in order to get 10. In other words, 2 × 5 = 10.

Coloring in squares to correspond to skip counting using various whole numbers (as in the figures above) further allows us to start visualizing multiplication, since each colored square represents a multiple of whatever whole number we are using to skip count. The first colored square represents the chosen whole number, multiplied by 1. Each subsequent colored square represents the next multiple.

Example

Use the table below to solve 3 × 6.

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

"3 × 6" just means that we are skip counting by 3, 6 times. Using the table, we just need to count 6 colored squares from left to right, top to bottom, to find the solution to 3 × 6, which is 18.