Monday, September 26, 2016

Factors, and Multiples, and Arrays, Oh My!

Our first math unit of the year is a multiplication unit. While students spend a lot of time in third grade working on basic multiplication facts, we find that there is still much work to be done in 4th grade to help students become fluent with those facts. This is such an important skill, because later this year we will be moving on to multi-digit multiplication and long division. If your child is still counting on his or her fingers, it will be hard to keep up.

There are many apps and online games that can make practicing multiplication more fun. Click on the picture below for a post on the Appydazeblog listing good multiplication practice apps.

For free online multiplication games, check out

Students take a 1-minute individual fact timed test once a week. As they show mastery, they move on to the next number.  We go in order of difficulty: 0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 11, 9, 3, 6, 4, 7, 8, 12.  The target for the end of September is to have passed 0-2s. Ask your child which facts are the trickiest for them and support them any way you can, whether it is practicing with flashcards, playing a game, or quizzing them in the car.

One of our ELTs reads, "Understands that a whole number is a multiple of each of its factors." In order to make sense of this, you need to understand the difference between factors and multiples.
We have been practicing this every day during math calendar.
Today's Number is always the number of days we have been in school, (which was 14 this past Friday.) The Calendar Helper does all the writing and manipulation of the SmartBoard, while the rest of the class records the information in their math notebooks. Since students also need to know if a number is prime or composite, we record that, too.
We've also been reviewing arrays. Arrays are rectangular arrangements of objects that can be used to represent multiplication. We've realized that arrays are all around us!
Students have been working with partners to make array posters, and find all the factors of a given number, using the factor rules. Some are even taking on the challenge to find the seven numbers between 1-100 that have 10 or more factors. Here are some mathematicians at work! 
Ask your child which number they have found the most factors for!

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