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!

 

Why & How to Use Task Cards in The Classroom

Why?

Task Cards Save Paper: Using task cards can cut down on the number of copies and paper used because you don’t need to make a set for each student and if laminated or kept in protective sleeves, they can be used for years without printing new copies. 

Task Cards Increase Engagement: They add to student engagement because they add novelty. Paper and pencil practice is certainly useful, but can become dull and routine.  Using dry erase markers on a task card can mix things up a bit.  Also, task cards can be printed with fun colors and clip art to add interest for the students.

How? 

Centers and or Work Stations – Print cards and keep in small containers or baggies.  Have students work in pairs or groups solving problems on task cards and recording on a record sheet.  I like using record sheets for two reasons. One, the students are more likely to stay on task if they know they will have to turn something in at the end of the center. And, the other reason, I like to look over the record sheets to see if students need re-teaching or extra help with the skill/concept worked on in the center.  If you do not have a lot of copy paper you can always have students use notebook paper to create a record sheet.  Have them write the name of the center on the paper and then number or letter their answers.

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Whole Class Cooperative Groups – My suggestions for whole class would be the same as for work stations & centers except you would need one set of task cards for each table group.  After learning or reviewing a concept with whole class, the students could work on the cards with their table groups.   After the group work you could have a class discussion about the task cards as a way to wrap up. Another whole class activity which would require only one set of task cards is a “Scoot” or circuit.  To set up a Scoot you have a different task card on each desk and have the students work in pairs rotating around the set of task cards in numerical or alphabetical offer.  Some teachers will set a timer for scoot and others will let students move as they finish.  For a FREE  “Scoot Record Sheet” that can be used with any set of task cards, click here.

ScootSheetPREVIEW

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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!

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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

Back To School Math

Guess what?!?  It’s time to get ready to go back to school!  Here in my little world we have less than 2 weeks left until the kids are back in school!

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If you are a parent looking for something to use to help our kids brush up on Math Skills before the school year stats off, I have something perfect for you!  If you are a teacher looking for classroom work to help get your students back into gear, I also have something for you! Continue reading

Skip Counting & Multiplication

7 tips for skip counting

It is very important for students to understand the meaning behind multiplication. It is also important for them to master multiplication facts so that they may apply them to other types of math. They need to know the multiples of numbers to simplify fractions, solve large division problems, see patterns,  understand algebra, and so much more.
Being fluent with Math is similar to being fluent in Reading. If a student knows his sight words and only has to sound out a few unfamiliar words he is able to read a paragraph or story fluently, and comprehend it. However, if he has to sound out all of the words as he reads, the paragraph or passage will take a long time and fluency will be weaker and comprehension compromised.

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