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At Right Angles | Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2014
Here are some questions which arise while teaching Multiplication: Should children memorise
the multiplication tables? What is an easy and convenient way of modeling multiplication? Is it
enough if one only teaches the procedure of multiplication? Perhaps answers to these questions
can be found if we reflect on the importance we give to construction of knowledge. If we see
that children must understand how facts are derived, how procedures are derived and how
concepts can be visualized, then our approach will be dictated by that understanding.
Keywords: Multiplication, manipulatives, pattern, cycle, symmetry, commutative, Cartesian product
We start with two ‘warm up activities’ before introducing multiplication (Activity 1 and Activity 2).
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One group of children can work with straws and arises. Further, it is important that children of this
make bundles of straws with the same number of age group are exposed to tactile learning. This will
straws in each bundle. Another group can arrange aid in visualizing problems and strengthen their
square pieces in rows with the same number of conceptual understanding. Doing these activities
pieces in each row. Yet another group can line up will also help children who learn through a
seeds on a graph board or square ruled sheets. kinesthetic approach.
(Seeds can also be placed in paper plates or The purpose of this activity is to focus on re- bowls.) By rotation, all groups should work with arranging objects into equal groups and
different materials. Different children learn in distinguishing between the two numbers (the
different ways. We need to expose them to number of groups made, and the number in each
multiple ways of looking at things. Also, working group) arising from the situation. It is not
wi th di f fe ren t ma te rial s and di f fe ren t necessary at this point to talk of the total number.
arrangements will help children become familiar Questions will centre around the following: ‘How
with different contexts in which multiplication many groups?’, ‘How many in each group?’
Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2014 | At Right Angles
Making equal groups and
internalising multiplication contexts
Materials required: Square pieces, straws and rubber bands,
coloured buttons. Peg board and pegs or a graph board and seeds