We are beginning a new "theme" in math class - multiplication. One of our long-term projects is making a "How To Multiply" book. Each multiplication fact will have a story and a picture to go along with it.
Today, we did a new activity that most children found very fun. I had 20 picture cards scattered around the classroom and the library. Each student received a record sheet on a clipboard and a pencil. They visited each card (in no particular order) and had to write down the multiplication sentence and answer on their record sheet.
Some problems were repeated addition. In this example, the multiplication sentence for number 17 on their chart was 3 X 7 = 21.
Some of the problems were drawn as equal groups. Here a child is working out 5 groups with 2 eggs in each group - 5 X 2 = 10.
And some problems were illustrated as arrays. Sophie is working on an array that 3 across and 6 down, or 3 X 6 = 18.
While it is important for students to memorize their facts, it is also necessary for them to understand the significance of what they are doing. It is crucial children visualize multiplication in different ways - each student will probably find one that best helps them internalize the concept.