Discovering Multiplication

Multiplication can be a daunting concept for some students. But in my many years as a teacher I have learned that starting out with a discovery activity can help students to understand the process of multiplication and relieve some of the stress.

I like to start off with a real world problem such as “Jessie has 4 plates of cookies. There are 5 cookies on each plate. How many cookies does she have in all?” I have students work in groups or with partners and with counters or color tiles to solve the problem concretely.  I will walk around the room and discuss the methods used, and give a lot of praise for effort.

cookies multiplication

After working out the problem with the counters we will have a class discussion to recognize that there are many ways to solve the problem. Some students count, some skip count, some use repeated addition and some might already know a few multiplication tricks. I validate each method and move into the next phase, drawing pictures… Again I let students work in groups to find ways to draw pictures and then we share. After sharing I show the the way I like to make my pictures:

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I continue this process with several more problems and then name multiplication as a way to solve problems with equal groups more quickly than adding.

We practice with picture problems as well and I reinforce vocabulary…

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And, as with any skill, we practice, practice, practice!!!

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I would love to know what strategies you use to introduce multiplication in your classroom! Add them in the comment section below!

 

How to Have Fun When You Don’t Have Time for Fun!

Some of my favorite memories of my elementary school years involve making crafts and playing games! My favorite craft was making gingerbread scented salt dough ornaments! But, anyone who teaches in this day and age knows we don’t always have time to do the fun stuff, right! So, to make the most of the season I sneak in a little holiday cheer as often as possible! Here are a few of my favorite ways to sneak in some fun when you have too much curriculum to cover or a dreaded math assessment to review for!

As simple as it sounds, white printer paper, colored markers and stickers or stamps can add a little holiday cheer to even the most dull math tasks! Here is an example of a Math Review I did yesterday with one of my Fourth graders. She has a test this week so we needed to spend some serious time reviewing fractions, but you can see that we still made it fun!

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I bet you can figure out what my third graders are reviewing this week!  Check out this simple array activity to practice multiplication! This could also be used for fact families!

holiday stamps arrays cropped

But what if you have to work on a review with word problems? No problem! You make that into a present too! Take any review or set of task cards and have students make a cheerful answer sheet like this:

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Well, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE MATH GAMES, so I will have to mention that you can turn any math skill into a game!  Here is one of my favorites from my TpT Store:

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I would love to hear some other ideas people have for adding a little holiday fun to math class! Leave a comment below with your favorite activity!

Holiday Math Craftivities and Activities!

‘Tis the season to be jolly … but, if we are in school we still have math skills to teach and review! Here are some awesome Holiday Math Craftivities and Activities to help your students have fun while still learning!

Have your students measure and cut strips of paper in specific lengths and use the strips to make Christmas Trees! This can be as simple as 1 inch, 2 inch, 3 inch or as complicated as area and perimeter or fractions depending on your students’ age/grade level.

How about fraction snowmen or “symmetries”?  Cute, fun and educational!

This stacking cup game is designed for addition facts, but it could really be modified for any math skill!

These math games are lots of fun too!  They are low prep and easy to play!

 

For more great Holiday Math Ideas check out my pinterest board!

Math Ideas for Turkey Time!

Well, I am a bit behind on posting, but I have a good excuse! I have been working on some new resources for November! I finally uploaded my two new Thanksgiving themed games to TpT.

The first one is a Word Problem Scavenger Hunt! Your students will get a chance to move around and work collaboratively with partners while solving one and two step addition and subtraction problems. The problems all have a Thanksgiving theme and have great clipart to go with the questions.

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The second one is called Turkey Tic Tac Toe! It is a Thanksgiving themed multiplication game.  Make fact practice a little more fun with this game.

Square Cover Turkey Tic Tac Toe

I will be creating more Thanksgiving math activities so keep your eye on my Fall Pinterest Board or Visit my TpT store.

Awesome Math & Science Easter Activities

It is that time of year again! Time for jelly beans, eggs, bunnies and baskets! There are so many ways to use Easter excitement to keep your students engaged in classroom lessons.  Here are some of my favorites from around the web:

 easter math and science

Math:

One of my favorite activities this time of year is a Math Egg Hunt!  Buy a bunch of plastic eggs and stick problems inside the eggs. Hide the eggs around the room. Give your students a record sheet or a piece of notebook paper and let them hunt and solve math problems.  Print your own problems or get mine FREE here.

 eggs Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Classroom Fun!

Are your little leprechauns looking for a pot of gold?  St. Patrick’s Day can be a lot of fun and also educational!  Here are a few great ideas!

Crafts!!!

I absolutely love crafts for any occasion! Here are a few fun crafts for St. Patrick’s Day:

Leprechaun Mask  by Abc Creative Learning

Paper Strip Shamrocks by Sugarbee Crafts

Water Bottle Shamrock Stamp by Crafty Morning

Math!!!

I guess it is no secret!  I also love Math!

Lucky Charms Graph by How to Homeschool My Child

Ten Lucky Leprechauns by One Sharp Bunch

March Math Freebie by ME!

And just for fun …

St. Patrick’s Day Joke Cootie Catcher  by Bren Did

Leprechaun Poop by Penny Pinchin Mom

marchmathfreebie

 

Understanding Multiplication and Division in Word Problems

So, the fun and games of learning how to make arrays, skip counting on number lines and using models to solve multiplication problems has lead to the equally exciting task of solving division problems. Everyone seems to be making great progress and making meaning of multiplication and division in real world problems, UNTIL … wait for it … wait for it … We mix the two together!

multiplication-and-division-free

And here the real “fun” begins … A few students usually have an intuition about the structure of the problems and just “get it” with out much help, but the majority of students need direct, systematic instruction paired with hands on or pictorial examples to really, truly, deeply, understand the difference between multiplication and division in word problems.  But where can we start? Continue reading