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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Multiplication Strategies are Evolving!

Our work with multi-digit multiplication has certainly made progress since school started in August. Here is a review of the development of this learning trajectory:

Multiplication Cluster

This strategy of decomposing one of the factors has empowered students to learn how to solve problems using mental mathematics. It has reinforced the concept of multiplication in that one factor represents the size of groups while the other factor represents the number of groups.

Open Array Model 

This model has been fantastic as we have made sense of multiplication with larger factors because it has helped us not lose sight of the value of each factor and it has enabled us to decompose BOTH factors and keep track of finding all of the needed partial products.

Transition to the Traditional Algorithm

Recent efforts in math have been to use this model (which also decomposes both factors like the open array does) to understand how and why the traditional algorithm works. With this model, we practice multiplying in the same order that is used with the algorithm, but without the succinct regrouping. *Notice that the SAME four smaller problems solved here match the four smaller problems in the open array model above. These SAME four smaller problems are also calculated in our heads when using the traditional algorithm (below) too!

This transition strategy is a current focus during small group center time (when they work directly with me using the white boards). The students are catching on VERY quickly! It's quite impressive!!


Later in the school year, we will connect all of the above pieces to this famous and widely-used strategy:

Traditional Algorithm

Aah......our final destination. Once students feel they are ready to exercise this strategy, they must be able to explain it to me!


Can you see how all of these strategies are related? :-)

Deep conceptual understanding is realized when one can solve a problem in multiple ways and make connections between strategies and models in how they are related and why they work. Mathematical conversations have never been more fun!


  1. This is my go-to division strategy!!! I Love it!!!

  2. I am sooooo grateful that my kids are getting this amazing math knowledge!!!!! xoxo

  3. I like working with arrays it helps me with the work we do in class I look forward doing the array isha

  4. So impressed with Chatfield's mathematical skills! Thank you for your hard work and passion! I wish I would have been taught math this way!


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