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In mathematics, word problems have been known to pose challenges for elementary school students, middle school students and even some high school students. In addition, a vast majority of students also have difficulties with solving problems with fractions. If we mix a word problem with a problem with fractions, then we end up getting an even tougher problem to solve. How can we expect those students who have not yet mastered language to make meaning of word problems? Let's dive right into a math word problem which will illustrate this.    Problem: Tashira has a piece of lace material that is 3/5 yard long. She used 2/3 of the material to make a quilt. How much did she use to make the quilt?   When a student reads this problem one of the questions she/he may ask is, "Where do I start?" The student may have difficulty with translating the word problem into its mathematical representation. The next difficulty is that if the student decides... read more

Some children do very well at memorizing their multiplication tables.  Some struggle.  An important bridge students need to cross before multiplying is skip-counting. Skip-counting is a concept that helps students understand their multiplication drills.  Sometimes, the reason children struggle with their multiplication tables is that they have skipped this VERY important step. Skip-counting forwards is not enough.  They must learn to skip-count backwards, as well. If a child can say their multiplication tables with ease and cannot skip-count with ease, then they have only memorized a bunch of numbers.  This will cause problems eventually.      The first step to learning to skip-count should involve a hundred chart or number line.  This visual tool helps them have some confidence and visualize number sequences.  Have them count backwards from 60 to zero by 3's.  Next, have them start at 100 and count backwards by 5's.  Finally,... read more

We’ll start with the easy stuff. Multiplying by 4: (1) Double the multiplicand you want to multiply 4 by (2) Double it one more time e.g.     8 * 4 = 32 8 * 2 = 16 16 * 2 = 32 Why does this work? 4 can be broken up into 2 * 2 8 * 4 = 32 8 * (2 * 2) = 32 Thanks to the associative property of multiplication, we can multiply factors in whatever grouping or order we chose and still get the same answer. We start by multiplying multiplicand we want to multiply 4 by 2 because this computation is easy for most people to do in their heads. (8 * 2) * 2 (16) * 2 We then multiply our product by the remaining multiplicand, which is 2. 16 * 2 = 32 Multiplying by 10: Stick a zero behind whatever number you wish to multiply 10 by 988 * 10 = 9880 Why does this work? Consider what we’re doing in terms of place value. When... read more

We’ll start with the easy stuff. Multiplying by 4: (1) Double the multiplicand you want to multiply 4 by (2) Double it one more time e.g.     8 * 4 = 32 8 * 2 = 16 16 * 2 = 32 Why does this work? 4 can be broken up into 2 * 2 8 * 4 = 32 8 * (2 * 2) = 32 Thanks to the associative property of multiplication, we can multiply factors in whatever grouping or order we chose and still get the same answer. We start by multiplying multiplicand we want to multiply 4 by 2 because this computation is easy for most people to do in their heads. (8 * 2) * 2 (16) * 2 We then multiply our product by the remaining multiplicand, which is 2. 16 * 2 = 32 Multiplying by 10: Stick a zero behind whatever number you wish to multiply 10 by 988 * 10 = 9880 Why does this work? Consider what we’re doing in terms of place value. When... read more

Here are 48 of my favorite math words in 12 groups of 4. Each group has words in it that can be thought of at the same time or are a tool for doing math.   between on over in   each multiply of many   ratio divisions distribution compartments   limit neighborhood proximity boundary   infinite infitesmal mark differentiation   graph width height depth   circle sphere point interval   hyper extra spacetime dimensional   geometry proportion sketch spatial   four table cross squared   target rearrange outcome result   area volume space place   What are your favorite math words? If you aren't sure, search for "mathematical words" and pick a few.

I created this game as a way for kids to have a fun way to practice and remember their multiplication facts. It can be played child against child or child against adult.     Multiplication War   You will need 1 deck of cards with the jokers removed.     Card Value Ace = 1  Jack = 11 Queen = 12 King = 0 Number cards equal the number on the card     Parent/Adult versus child version Divide the deck so both players have an equal number of cards. When you are ready to begin both players put down a card.  The child needs to multiply both numbers correctly within a certain time period. This can be anywhere from 10-30 seconds depending on their skill level. If the child answers it correctly within the time frame, the child keeps both cards. If he/she doesn't the adult gets both cards. The game continues until the adult is out of cards. The object of this... read more

Do your children hate practicing their multiplication facts? If they are like my own children, practicing math facts is "just another chore," boring, or a waste of time to them!  Since I personally don't like to do anything boring, I've gotten creative with how I teach multiplication to my students at school an how I practice with my own children at home.  The transformation in their attitudes about multiplication have been magic!   PLAY GAMES! Using a deck of playing cards, remove all face cards from the deck. Select a number of the week to practice. Flip a card and ask your child to tell the product of the card you flipped with their number of the week.       EX. If their number of the week is 2, and the card you flip is a 7, say,"What is the product  of 2 x 7?"                                                                                                                                                              ... read more

Hello everyone, it's been a while since I updated this blog, but I'd like to give a few tips to parents for helping their kids get ready for multiplication and division.   If you are introducing the concept of multiplication:   Explain to your child that multiplication is an easy way add up the same number   Example: You could take a whole bunch of pencils, let's say 6, and split them up into three groups of two.   Have the child add each of the groups up:   ||     +      ||        +     || 2      +      2         +     2  = 6   Now, explain to the child, that multiplying is taking all the plus signs and replacing it with (x)   To construction the... read more

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