My first five years of teaching I was a humanities specialist, not teaching math or science. Now they have become my favourite subjects to engage students in learning. We learn in groups, we talk about what we are learning, and we use technology (of course!)

I want to showcase a lesson with practical ideas for not only teaching math in a hands on way, but to use technology to teach it.

My grade 5 students have been working on 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication. I have had them working with base 10 blocks in groups to work through what multiplication actually means.

We are working through several steps to build not only skill in solving multiplication problems, but to develop a deep understanding of the concept of multiplication. We work through several representations from concrete, to pictorial, to symbolic. I’ve linked to a WMV version of the file under each You Tube clip, just in case You Tube is blocked for you as well.

The first clip shows multiplication by making groups. They are showing how they worked with 12 x 14.

The students continue to solve 12 x 14 by regrouping with their blocks

The third clip is about the next evolution in the strategy, solving 12 x 14, but instead of using groups the kids are making a rectangle showing 12 rows of 14 to solve the problem.

23 x 24 using a rectangle to solve a 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication program.

We got steadily more complicated in our questions. Here we are working with 41 x 33

As we went through the process we would stop and discuss what we were doing and go through examples together using the Smartboard.

I set a hundred, ten, and unit base 10 block as infinite cloners and we could easily pull them over to show how to multiply by making groups or by building a rectangle.

The technology really enhanced the lesson. The students that were done called me over immediately and couldn’t wait to share what they knew on the flip camera. Groups started to bicker over who I would tape next. I also had groups that had completely the problem successfully build their answers on the Smartboard so we could go over them together as a class.

This shows a complete process of using technology to enhance a concrete, hands on math lesson.

The next step would be to take the concept to a pictorial representation used base 10 paper to draw rectangles. Eventually we will get to a symbolic representation of the multiplication problems in a more traditional way. But even then we don’t use an algorithm we break it down into how many thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones the problem has, then add it together.

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