Sunday, February 17, 2008

Math Problems: Making Material for Multiplication

In response to a comment on our earlier blog that asked about dealing with two unit multipliers:

When you are working with a problem that involves inches and feet (or centimeters and meters), create a visual representation of the problem. For example, how many times does 10,000 square inches go into two square feet? If your child is having trouble seeing what is happening, create grids on Excel (or with grid math paper) and make grids for square inches and square feet that your child can physically handle and move around.

You can create grids that represent 1,000, 100, 10, and 1 square inch each (so you do not have to make 10,000 tiny squares!)

If your child is just starting to learn how to multiply single digit numbers (for example, 8 x 5), start with the Montessori Multiplication Board:

Photo: Nienhuis Math Equipment at

If you look at the board's layout, the problem was 2 x 5 -- children mark 2 places on the top of the board, put down 5 beads for each place, and count the result. This hands on practice helps children internalize exactly what happens for equation, allowing them to make the transition to solving written equations quickly and easily.

Questions? Please let us know!

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