Q&A #12139

Distributive property using manipulatives

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Sep 26, 2003 at 07:04:18
Subject: Re: Distributive property using manipulatives

Dear Linda, I'm not sure which manipulatives you have available, but let's assume that you have something that can be used to represent units. Here's an example of what I'm thinking: 2(3 + 4) = 2x3 + 2x4 If you start with 3 represented by x x x 4 represented by x x x x and since you have 2 groups you also have 3 represented by x x x 4 represented by x x x x and altogether that is: x x x x x x x x x x x x x x for a total of 14. Can we use those 14 manipulative pieces and arrange them to show 2x3 + 2x4? What does that mean? Two groups of three and two groups of four? x x x x x x x x x x x x x x Hmmm....compare! How many are there? In my mind the underlying ideas of addition and multiplication are quite important to understand the distributive property. So, you might need to work just on that first. Can your students show simple addition and multiplication concepts with the manipulatives? Once you know they can, then going on to demonstrating the distributive property might not be too difficult. I hope that idea is useful. -Suzanne A., for the T2T service Thanks for visiting our on-line community. Visit Teacher2Teacher again at http://mathforum.org/t2t/

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