Sunday, December 5, 2010

Off and Away with Arrays!

This week in math, we are exploring the use of arrays to help us with multiplication and division. It is imperative that students develop strong visual images of multiplication as they develop strategies for solving multiplication problems. If a student can clearly visualize how the numbers they are multiplying are related, they can develop flexible, efficient, and accurate strategies for solving multiplication problems. One way for students to visualize these relationships is through the use of arrays. An array is an arrangement of an equal number of items in rows and columns. Arrays can helpful when solving more “difficult” multiplication situations. Being able to visualize how to break multiplication problems into parts becomes even more important as students solve multi-digit problems in Grades 4 and 5.

The following is an example of how a student can split an array into smaller arrays making it easier to find the product. (In case you have forgotten, a product is the answer to a multiplication problem.)

Another way students can help lay a strong foundation for multiplication is to practice skip counting by multiples of numbers 2-12. The goal is for students to be able to skip count fluently (within 3 seconds) from one multiple to the next. This task can be practiced at home, between commercial breaks, or even in the car. Being able to skip count fluently will undoubtedly help students in their work with multiplication and division. Check out this website that helps with skip counting.

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