Multiplication is one of the basic operations in mathematics. Teaching multiplication does not have to be merely rote memorization of isolated number facts.
Although it is important for students to be quick and accurate in computing, it is equally important for them to understand the concept of multiplying. When there is conceptual understanding, students can make connections across contextual real-life situations. This can later on benefit them when faced with other related mathematical applications.
Using various strategies such as grouping and making arrays, skip counting, repeated addition, writing in words, and commutative property will enhance students’ understanding about multiplication.
In doing multiplication by grouping, a specific number of items is repeatedly grouped. One factor states the number of groups. The other factor states the number of items in each group. The product is the total number of items in all the groups. If the items are orderly arranged in rows and columns, then it is called an array.
Example 1: There are 9 groups of stars. Each group has 6 stars. How many stars are there in all?
Another multiplication strategy is skip counting. It is counting while skipping one or more numbers in a pattern.
Example 2: There are 8 apples in a basket. How many apples are there in 9 baskets?
In class, our students felt overwhelmed when they first heard the word multiplication even if some of them were familiar with this operation. What the students were most scared of was that they thought they had to memorize the times tables right away. However, after being introduced them to different multiplication strategies, including creating a number line, they felt relieved. It was NOT as difficult as they thought! The students became more engaged and confident as they got the chance to use their preferred strategies to solve multiplication questions.
Resources like manipulatives and other materials such as playing cards, beads, paper clips, and dice are also readily available as students learn multiplication.
When students understand the basics, they begin to build on relevant concepts and develop strategies that can help them learn more multiplication facts. When students are confident in their abilities in multiplying, they will have a positive outlook towards learning and consequently be successful in their math experiences in the future.
By: Jenina Siauw and Nancy Benedicta
Grade 2 Teachers
BINUS SCHOOL Simprug