Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Provocation Tables for Multiplication and Division

As part of a formative assessment/provocation for the start of our new unit on multiplication and division, I set up four different stations. Each station was designed to provide me with different information to help me plan where to take my students next.

Table 1:

This question was designed to see how students would solve this problem. Students responses varied from...

5+5=10, 5+5=10, 10+10=20, 20+5=25

Table 2.

This activity was designed to see if students could conceptually visualise multiplication facts.

I really liked this students response. Showing creativity in his maths thinking.

Table 3:

Note: Students knew we have 21 students.

This station was set up to check students understanding of division. I purposely used words such as 'divide' and 'equal groups' to gauge their knowledge of these concepts.

Many students required the use of materials to solve this problem.

Some were about to use their knowledge of multiplication.

Others found it too challenging and wrote 'I don't know?'

Table 4:

For this activity I purposely used the word 'operation'. I wasn't sure if it was too challenging, but I wanted to find out what students knew what it meant. Some required help, but once I had explained it to them, they were then able to provide an answer.

Some students wrote 5x5x5, 2x2x2 and 4x4

Others used addition e.g. 5+5+5

Some students wrote 'I don't know?'

GREAT!!!!!! I always encourage and praise my students for being courageous enough to share that they don't know. I constantly refer to our Maths Essential Agreement that states, "mistakes are good" and "it's ok not to know". Too often maths is seen as a competition to see who can answer questions the fastest, even among 2nd Graders. It is so important that students are able to feel comfortable to share their level of understanding.

An example of a student recording their thinking.

During the activity I asked students to revisit the 'reflection table' to write down any new wonderings they may have.

Pleasing to see students using materials to help them solve problems. It is so important that students don't view using materials as a sign that they don't understand. One student even said, "I am just using them to check"


  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I agree with Kate here. Some authentic connections to.

  3. Thanks for your feedback Kathryn and Mark. I am about to try one for fractions so will see how that goes!