Ahh, Fall. The leaves are changing colors, pumpkins are being placed on doorsteps, and festive recipes are emerging from the pages of cookbooks and coming alive. It’s the season of sugar, spice, and everything nice. Personally, I love bringing those warm, fuzzy feelings into the classroom. I created this activity to incorporate multi-digit multiplication with the changing of the seasons.
In my classroom, I group students heterogeneously to form “Math Teams.” During their team time, they gather at their designated team tables to work together, help each other, and share the various problem-solving strategies they use. I tell them it’s important to not only be able to know how to do whatever it is they’re doing, but to be able to explain it. Why are they doing what they’re doing? What led them to arrive at their answers? How would they teach someone the concept of the skill they’re performing?
This activity, in particular, was designed to be fun and engaging. I remember being in school and multiplying and multiplying and multiplying until my little hand was numb. It just wasn’t fun! I want my students to practice multiplication — the rote algorithm — in such a way that holds their interest and keeps them from burning out.
*Differentiation (High): I let early finishers create their own multi-digit multiplication equations, as well as real-world word problems to complement them.
*Differentiation (Low): I think it’s okay to allow certain students to use calculators at least some of the time. Of course, their ability to have access to their calculators is completely up to you. The most valuable part of reviewing the content you teach isn’t gauging the amount of work your students can do in a specific amount of time, but gauging their mastery or non-mastery of that content. This is why my students staple their work to their recording sheets so I can see the steps they’re doing correctly, but also the steps they’re doing incorrectly.