Saturday, December 29, 2012

Guided Math: Exploring Multiplication and Division

My third graders will begin exploring multiplication when we get back to school next week. It is a huge endeavor but students are always anxious to get started on "big kid" math so I know they will be motivated.  But what about me???  After so many years teaching the same content it is easy to get stuck in a rut reusing the same activities again and again. 

Although John Van de Walle's "Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics" book is my go-to math guide, this year I've found a couple of others that I really like.  I'm loving "Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Multiplication and Division".  These authors take a real hands on approach to teaching the Big Ideas involved in a study of multiplication. 

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics: Grades 3-5 Volume 2(Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Series) (Paperback)Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Multiplication and Division: Strategies, Activities & Interventions to Move Students Beyond Memorization

We will be working on understanding and using all models of multiplication and we will relate it to division from the very beginning. To help students visualize the math, I will be using manipulatives and math mats.  Students will roll two dice to arrive at two numbers to work with.  They will use those numbers to represent a multiplication problem on the mat.  For instance, if they roll a 4 and 2, they could create the number sentence four groups of 2 equals 8.  Students could see that as 2+2+2+2 and also as 4x2. 

Here they can use simple manipulatives to show the math.  I would also encourage students to tell a math story using the mats and materials.  For instance they might say:  Four scuba divers were swimming in a lagoon.  Each diver saw 2 fish.  They saw 8 fish in all. 

Students would then write down the repeated addition sentence and then the related multiplication sentence.
I created different mats to  use with different materials.  Here students are filling cocoa mugs with marshmallows.

These lucky pirates found jewels in their treasure boxes.  Here we cut the cards apart but they can be left together as a sheet as well.
This mat has students telling multiplication or division stories about children with snowballs.
It took one trip to the dollar store to find the manipulatives needed for three of the mats.  Other manipulatives are easy to find in craft stores.

My plan is to incorporate these mats during Partner Practice time during Guided Math.
They could work for the "On My Own' time as well but I love to encourage the conversation about the math for this one.

Interested in using these with your students?  You can find them at my TPT store.