Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Multiplication Array: Part I Measuring It Out - Section 2: Designing A Grid to Gather Fact Families


"Real life" is challenging, and I think it is important that my students are prepared to tackle complex tasks.  In this lesson they had to divide a large piece of paper into 36 equal squares which tied to the next day's activity of creating a multiplication array for the numbers 1-36. 

Part of preparing for the real world, is working cooperatively to solve the task. This can take time, but when I look back at all the skills they had to use to accomplish this task, I believe it is worth it.  Students had to first brainstorm how they would divide up the chart - at this time students who didn't know where to start were getting ideas from other students.  They had to measure out 6 by 6 squares and darken the lines to make them stand out on the chart for presentation purposes.  

While measurement isn't the main objective of the lesson, I was able to add it to support the lesson. I think it is an important skill, and have more to say about it in my Reflection. Also, when I get to my actual measurement lessons student will already have had experience with this concept. 

As you may have noticed. I do not supply the information on how to organize this task with my class.  I want them to come up with and share multiple ways of solving the problem.  I also want them to allow for different thinking from other students - there is more than one way to get to a solution. 

As I look back on this lesson there were some challenges with behavior - one group did not get their chart drawn by the end of the time and had been spending more time on arguing who was going to measure and who was going to draw.  I think that's a learning experience as well, and they were able to work on the chart quietly during silent reading time.

I differentiate student goals. The goal for some was to complete the chart, for others it was to complete the chart, write out the algorithms and extend the chart.  One group became "teacher leaders" to help another student whose partner was absent. 

This was also the week I had a new, non English speaking student, start.  I paired him with two other students who I knew would work well with him.  They took the time to write out the multiples of 6 and to show him on the ruler how they were measuring out the 6 by 6 grid. 

  Problem-based Approaches: How We Learn Is Important Too
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Multiplication Array: Part I Measuring It Out

Unit 2: Multiplication Madness
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to solve the problem of setting up a multiplication array by precisely measuring, in inches, to create 36 boxes, 6 inches by 6 inches square .

Big Idea: Measurement is the lowest scoring concept on national and state tests - fit it in everywhere!

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