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It’s Time for Multiplication

October 12, 2020 | Sam Martino

Third grade math is humming along and exciting things are happening.

Two students in the Mountains class playing a game with array cards.

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. 

This page has all the multiples of 4 highlighted up to 100.

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.

Despite the distance, students can play games together.

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. 

Students challenged themselves to create “whacky” math problems. These problems have students count by groups.

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.

Sam Martino

Assistant Teacher, Grade 3 Mountains Class; Math Specialist

Sam Martino is a Grades 2&3 assistant teacher in the Mountains Class. He graduated from Fordham University in 2014 with a bachelor of arts in history. Prior to joining the staff in 2015, Mr. Martino worked as a substitute teacher at Mustard Seed School. During his time as a substitute, he was able to work with every elementary and middle school class. Mr. Martino’s connection to Mustard Seed School goes back much further, however. He first connected with Mustard Seed in 1999 when he enrolled as a second grade student. In 2006, Mr. Martino graduated from Mustard Seed School. His mother served as a member of the Board of Trustees, and Mr. Martino’s two brothers also graduated from Mustard Seed. A lifelong Hoboken resident, Mr. Martino is excited to continue working with students in a unique urban community. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, music, and movies. He can often be seen lugging instruments around town as he travels to and from practices and shows.

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