Teaching a simple skill is a great time to include some exposure to basic science content - that's one of the many gifts of teaching 3rd. We can teach for the pure joy of it without worrying about testing students on it!
This adorable frog is from South Africa, and the rest of the frogs in this lesson can be found in Central Africa, which also allows for an opportunity to point at the map!
Ask students if they already feel like they know multiplication. (Silent think). Of course there will be the students who want to shout out the facts that they have already memorized. Most students will feel like it's something relatively new.
Then say, I know some of you may feel like you don't know much about multiplication yet. My goal today is to show you that you already know 20 multiplication facts!
Ask everyone to count by ones. They will look bemused.
Do the same with twos. Tell them that using those structures, they will be able to state how to find the answers to 20 different math fact problems by the end of today's lesson.
Using a model, students now create equations with factors or divisors of two and one. They interpret and write simple word problems (one step) for multiplication and division facts with factors of one and two.
Some students will groan because they think multiplying by ones and twos is "too easy". Other students may struggle. If your children don't understand, slow down. That doesn't make you an unsuccessful teacher, it makes you a responsive one!
This independent (partner, small group, or individual) work gives students a chance to build their confidence with multiplication while reading on or above-level scientific material.
I pay careful attention to students so that I can help them figure out scientific words using context clues. I remind them that for our purposes the Latin names are phonetic so we can chunk syllables to sound them out.
The basic principle of multiplying by one or doubling applies here as it did in the guided practice but the problems are a bit more complex. There is no need to belabor the fact that 8 x 1 = 8 if students understand that this represents eight groups, and each group has 1 "item". By the way, while students may "do" the equation accurately, it does not mean they understand it - so check for understanding, not accuracy.
If students did not understand the meaning of the multiplication problems, I go back and reteach, with manipulatives, before proceeding to this task. Another option would be to do this task whole group as well, projecting the paper on a document camera or pulling it up on an interactive whiteboard.
Ask students to share something about multiplication that they either learned or reviewed today. It is important that students learn to frame their thinking (it grows their thinking a well as their communication skills). Some examples of response starters for this activity are:
I learned that....
I reviewed the concept of...
Time permitting, also ask students to share a thought about how mathematics can be used in the study of animal populations.
White-lipped Tree Frog (may or may not be Galam's White Lipped Tree Frog or Darling's white-lipped tree frog that live in DRC)