Q&A #6524

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Explaining the why's of multiplication place values

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From: Mark

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2008072012:59:11
Subject: KISS: Keep It Simple & Sound

It's OK to go through all the expanded notation illustrations to make your point. The brighter and more capable student will comprehend this, but often its too much for the weaker math student. Telling them that the first number you multiply is in the ones place on the bottom factor, should register and make a meaningful connection. Then telling them you need to use a zero as a place holder on the next line because the second number in the bottom factor is in the tens place, and you must stay consistent and start in the tens place works real well. Of course, the third number in the bottom factor is in the hundreds place, and therefore you need two zeros before you begin to multiply because you must start in the hundreds place. Crossing off the bottom factor digits after use is also helpful. Sometimes kids with visual or fine motor coordination do these kinds of examples with greater success on graph paper, but initial and careful modeling of how to do it on graph paper is important. Good luck!

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