Friday, January 9, 2009

Things That Come in Groups

During the next few weeks, your child will be working on a mathematics unit about multiplication and division, called Things That Come in Groups.

Your child will be making lists of items that come grouped in different amounts-- things like 2 shoes in a pair, 7 days in a week, 12 eggs in a carton. Later the class will use these lists to write their own story problems.

Students will also work with the 100 chart, which shows the numbers from 1 through 100, organized in a systematic 10-by-10 grid. On this chart, your child will discover patterns in the multiples of a given number. We will also use arrays, or objects arranged in rows and columns to form rectangles of different shapes and dimensions. Students play games with Array Cards, learning to recognize the dimensions and the total number of small squares in each rectangle. The aim is a meaningful introduction to multiplication that helps students visualize what multiplication combinations "look" like.

Through our activities, students will be learning many multiplication pairs (or "facts"). Students will naturally learn many of these multiples through repeated use. They will practice counting by different multiples-- for example, by 3s (3,6,9,12...) - as one way of learning multiplication relationships. Students will be encouraged to visualize what these "facts" mean and what their relationships are -- for example, that 6 x 4 is four more than 5 x 4 or that 4 x 8 is double 2 x 8.

The emphasis of this unit is on understanding what multiplication and division mean. The children will be asked to make sense of different multiplication and division situations. They will develop their own ways for thinking and writing about these. Family members can help with many of the assignments during this unit. For example, you can help your child look for things that come in equal groups. You can take turns skip counting on the 100 chart with your child. And you can play the number games that your child brings home.


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