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    Introducing Multiplication
    By LindaR

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    I really like the simple and yet creative approaches of Marilyn Burns. All the lessons are based on investigative activities, which help the students make connections and formulate patterns. You might want to see if your school has any of her books. I've gotten a lot of use from her book, ABOUT TEACHING MATHEMATICS, which has an excellent chapter on introducing mulitiplication.

    One activity that might interest you:

    THE CHOPSTICK PROBLEM. Use this problem to initiate the exploration of multiplication in contexts. First, make sure that children know that when people use chopsticks to eat, two are required. Then pose a problem for class discussion: How many chopsticks are needed for four people? Hear from all children who want to respond, asking them to explain how they arrived at their answers.

    Then pose another problem: How many chopsticks are needed for everyone in the class? Ask the children to discuss and solved this problem in small groups. Then have individuals report their answers, again asking them to explain their reasoning. Record on the chalkboard the methods they report, modeling for the children how to use mathematical notation to represent their ideas. Keep the emphasis on children's different approaches for solving the problem.

    There are many more ideas and activities in this book!



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