October 12, 2020 | Sam Martino
Third grade math is humming along and exciting things are happening.
This year starts off with a study of multiplication. Students begin by first understanding what multiplication means. Thinking about things that come in groups (pairs of socks, sides on a triangle) students see that multiplying is essentially “skip counting” or counting by groups.
One tool that students use to explore skip counting is the Multiples Book. Students are able to skip count on a 100’s chart and make observations as they go along. When counting by 2s students noted that all the multiples were even. When counting by 5s students saw that all the multiples end in 5 or 0.
Another tool students can use to become multiplication experts are array cards. These cards help reinforce the idea that multiplication is counting by groups and provide a strong visual aid. When students see 4 x 6 they can think of it like “4 groups of 6” or “4 by 6.” Students have their own array cards and there are several posters in the classroom to serve as a reminder of these concepts.
Once students have a foundational understanding of what multiplication is, they are ready to commit some of these facts to memory. One way of doing this is by using flashcards. Each student has a set of flashcards that they can use for self quizzes or to play games with.
The coming weeks will see us wrapping up our first unit on multiplication (we will come back to it again this year), beginning to explore division, and investigating data and graphs.