I write several equations on the board with variables. Students show the number for the variable using their fingers. I use problems like this:
4r - 4 = 36 (students flash 10 fingers for 4*10 - 4 = 36)
32 = 6t + 2 (students show 5 fingers for 6*5 + 2 = 32
50 - 10 = 8n ( students who 5 fingers for 50 - 10 = 8 * 5
Many of my students get confused when they see letters in equations. This warm up reminds them that letters stand for an unknown, or a variable. This step leads to students eventually working on and mastering CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.A.3- Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.
Students spend this lesson playing Double Digit Multiplication Bingo in order to gain more practice with multiplication. This is a great strategy for students to have opportunities at a skill practice, while I provide individual student support. While students solve multiplication problems for the bingo game, I circulate the room and catch student mistakes and misconceptions immediately. Also, based off of my latest student assessment, I had identified students who need more guidance or scaffolds as they navigate their landscape of learning.
Double Digit Multiplication Bingo
Materials: a bingo board for each student or student pair, bingo markers (I use unifix cubes), calling cards
1. Give each student a blank bingo card. They must use the numbers on the bottom of the board to fill in their bingo boards. Encourage them to mix up the numbers, so no two boards are alike.
2. Choose the first card, writing down the problem (not the answer) for all to see on the board, SMART board, document camera, overhead, etc.
3. Continue providing problems for students to solve until a bingo is achieved.
4. Other alternatives to the traditional bingo are four corners, black out, and edges.
This is a video of two students solving a problem for the game. They don't end up with the same product. The video does cut off before the students analyze why they have different answers, but I know this is a good partnership and one in which both students benefit from each other. As a teacher, keeping a balance of how much information you as the teacher gives, versus how much they can learn from each other is truly important. In order to foster a cooperative learning environment, I find it crucial to let students rely on each others knowledge at appropriate times.
In this next video, you can see how quiet my classroom is while students solve multiplication problems for the game. In my experience, the level of noise in a classroom is one reason why some teachers don't use games or avoid games. This video shows just how quiet a game can be which game me ample time to conference with students and check for understanding as students played the game. At the end of this video, it shows two students who have different products for the same problem. The student who is incorrect, exhibits a very common mistake fourth grade students are making: they don't have their basic multiplication facts known from memory. A very common error students are making is adding too many or too few zeros when multiplying by multiples of ten, and computing incorrect basic multiplication facts.