Thursday, 16 March 2017

Posing Multiplication and Division Problems

Multiplication and division is one of my favourite units. I find students love being able to use their knowledge of facts to help them solve problems with greater efficiency. One of the challenges to teaching multiplication and division is making sure students conceptually understand what they are doing. Can students visualise and apply their knowledge to solve problems. My students are very skilled in the facts. Where they struggle is being able to apply them and to communicate their thinking. For example, I ask my students what is 5x4?, without any hesitation they give the answer, but if I show them 5 groups of 4 or ask them to draw it amazes me how many will count them all. This is more evidence about the importance of conceptual based mathematics. 

Below are a collection of questions that I posed throughout the unit. Some worked really well, some not so good as I either posed a problem that wasn't challenging enough or I failed to extend or enable my students. 

Problems I have used:

This problem went really well. It was connected to our unit on body systems and gave the students lots to think about. Something that I want to do more of is to make my open questions more relevant to what we are doing in the classroom. I find this very difficult at times. 

"What does length of time mean?"
"What's a number between 60-80?"
"How many days are there in a week?" 
(this also gave me a great formative assessment tool and informed me that I need to teach this)

This was linked to our HWEO unit. The students really enjoyed this task and it worked out to be a great visual tool too.

This open question was great for getting students to practice their knowledge of facts in an open setting. 

A student took this photo on a multiplication walk and I used it in our next lesson. Students love it when you use their ideas. It gives them ownership. 

Taking photos from when you're out and about. 

Using provocations are also a way to engage students.

Not really an open question, but asking students to find different arrays and letting them see that they can use a variety of facts to solve problems is also important. 

A few more examples that I have used. 

Feel free to share any questions you have used or if you think these are good questions. 

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