Multiplying This Week

22 Mar

We are reviewing multiplication facts this week so I thought I’d share this little game that I’ve been playing with my students since my school teaching days.

I call it “Jack and the Beanstalk”.

The student is ‘Jack’ who climbs the beanstalk.  The beanstalk is the ladder of flashcards on whatever topic you are reviewing.  For us it was multiplication facts.

To add a bit more thrill, (this was Ethan’s idea) you can add a ‘giant’ climbing down the ladder.  His idea was to add a marker at the top of the ‘ladder’ that is moved down the ladder one fact at a time as ‘Jack’ makes an error.  The idea being that ‘Jack’ has to get to the top before the ‘Giant’ gets to the bottom.

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Sounds easy but the catch is that if you make an error you slide right back to the bottom of the ladder and have to start all over again.  (Tip:  Put the trickiest facts at the very bottom where they will be repeated often).  You can’t skip this part as it’s the key to the review and the kids enjoy it and understand that it’s part of the game.

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Another multiplying resource we enjoyed this week was a living Math title that arrived in the mail at just the right time.  I love when that happens.

“Multiplying Menace:  The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin” was a book I’d look at online dozens of times but it’d always been culled off the list at the last minute.  This time I took the gamble and I’m glad I did.  This book was a real treat.

Part of the way through the book I panicked though.  It starts out teaching basic multiplication and then all of a sudden it was multiplying fractions.  Ahhhh!  Too hard people, too hard!

But as I continued to read I discovered that they weren’t requiring the kids to understand something that was beyond them.  The concept they were demonstrating was that multiplying by whole numbers produces a bigger number and multiplying by fractions reduces the number.

The examples they used were easily able to be replicated by the boys, especially when I dangled a carrot in front of them and asked, “What would you need to multiply your 6 chores by to get only 1 chore?”  The extra motivation of course was that they would then only have to do that one chore.  Amazing how smart kids can get all of a sudden with the right nudge.  Hehehe.

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Then all afternoon the boys ‘played’ at multiplying everything in the house with Rumplestiltskin’s multiplying stick.

Math is cool!  Although I did have to do the remaining 5 chores multiplied by two boys.  Hehehe.

I should have borrowed that multiplying stick to multiply these chores by zero.  🙂


Posted by on March 22, 2011 in Mathematics


2 responses to “Multiplying This Week

  1. Erin

    March 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Thrilled to find another bookloving hs aussie mum:)
    We love ‘Multiplying Menace’ too. I found maths pic bks the best way to get my dd to even like maths. Actually I gathered quite a collection.

  2. Tracey

    March 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Oh I love your list of Math books. I’ve just added two more to my wish lists.

    I’ve actually read your blog before Erin. I stumbled on it in my travels not long back when I was looking for book recommendations for my boys. You recommended “City of Ember”. Oh my boys LOOOOOOVE it. We’re almost finished People of Sparks. And I’ve just started Ethan on Battle Boy although he’s not sure about that one yet. He’s hung up over the fact that he’s read all of the Zac Power books and he wants more.

    I’m going to do a post on Math Living Books soon so keep an eye out. I’ve just added quite a few titles to my shelves as I realised that for a Math person I should have more. Well that was the logic I used. But really did I need logic when selecting great books…aside from “the more the merrier”. Heheheh

    Lovely meeting you. Off to go and read more of your blog now I’ve been reacquainted with it.


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