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  • Writer's pictureAlex Box

Multiplication - 3 ideas for depth over speed

Having long abandoned rote memorisation for learning multiplication facts, I'm always on the lookout for ways to better engage in this idea more holistically.

In particular, I'm looking for meaningful contexts that:

  • spark discussion

  • bring a slower, more mindful approach to learning multiplication

  • emphasise connections; both mathematical and social

Here are three ideas I'm tinkering with at the moment.

1. Which One Doesn't Belong? (WODB?)

You can read more about why WODB is one of my favourite maths routines here.

If the question is 'Which quadrant doesn't belong and why?', what would your response be?

Because of its open-ended nature, various arguments can be put forward, making it an accessible maths opener. Key concepts and language (e.g. multiplier, expression, parentheses) naturally emerge as contributors share their ideas with the group.

Update (16-05-21): Given my tendency toward 'trying to do too many things at once', I decided to sanity check this idea with the #MTBoS community. It wasn't long til Abigail replied, helping to progress this idea... #pln #collaboration #collectivegenius

I wanted to keep the expressions so am now playing around with a sequenced approach - start without the expressions, then add them on a second slide... PDF

2. Puzzles

I've noticed that some puzzles can create an authentic context for multiplicative thinking. These Mobile Puzzles call for thinking that draws on thinking in multiples, halves, doubles, through this puzzle which also requires algebraic reasoning to reach a solution. This is just #11 of 200 (!), sequenced according to difficulty. A great whole class or small group opener.

3. Math(s) Flips

I really love this innovative take on flashcards which spark discussion about much more than 'the answer'. Berkeley Everett has created a bunch of great maths visuals and printable resources to support sense-making and mathematical connections. Again, great for a whole class or small group discussion.

What activities have you discovered and are using to teach multiplication concepts?

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