Grade 2

Dear Parents,

 

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In Mathematics for the next few weeks, the Year 2 students will be developing their understandings of Multiplication and Division. Many of you will automatically think of learning the multiplication tables such as the ‘3 times tables’, ‘5 times tables’, ‘7 times tables’, etc.

 

 

While learning these multiplication facts is important, (we know some of our children know quite a few already), at this stage of their learning, it is vitally important that the children understand what multiplication is and what the multiplication expression actually means. Some students will know ‘time table’ facts but have no real understanding of what they mean. So hence, building understanding comes before building fact knowledge!

 

 

Look at the following example: 4 x 6 = 24: This means 4 rows of 6 which makes 24 altogether

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The first number of the multiplication fact (4) describes how many rows or groups there are and the second number (6) describes how many objects in each row or group.


 

You will notice that we use arrays to help develop the understanding of multiplication. Arrays are very common in everyday life (think egg cartons, food packaging e.g biscuits, post office boxes, to name just a few examples). If you look hard enough you will notice that arrays feature in many places.

 

Arrays build on from the students’ knowledge of addition. In the array above you can see that the rows of 6 can be written as 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 as well. However, as children’s understanding of multiplication grows, they develop more efficient methods and come to see that 4 rows of 6 equals 24 or 4x6=24. They begin to use skip counting to work out their answers.

 

Using arrays helps the students identify the difference between multiplication and addition. Hands-on exploration and use of groups and arrays link the key ideas of multiplication in a meaningful way, rather than a mechanical one. Hence the children learn to see that 6x4 = 24 gives the same answer as 4x6 - no need to learn 2 facts from 2 different multiplication tables in isolation!

 

Difficulties with multiplication usually occur because of a focus on the symbols and answers rather than the meaning associated with arrays - i.e learning facts in isolation and not fully understanding the meaning behind the symbols.

 

Now..............you may be thinking that all this sounds like we are going to ignore the ‘times table’. We most definitely are not! As we explore multiplication (and then subsequently division) through arrays, children will begin to learn facts and how they connect. For example, making 2 rows of 6, 7, 5 etc is doubling - therefore if a child knows how to double they know their ‘2 times’ tables.

 

In our Curriculum, developing automatic recall of their multiplication facts is an on-going process. Some children will master it very quickly, while others will take longer. Learning multiplication in a meaningful way that develops understanding will help student’s to learn these facts rather than trying to learn them by ‘rote’ or by recitation. As well, by learning with understanding they will be able to use their knowledge of facts and apply it to other situations

 

For example: How do I work out 15 x 6, when we don’t learn the ’15 times tables’?If I know that 10 x 6 = 60, and 5 x 6 = 30, then 15 x 6 = 90! just by using and applying my facts knowledge.

 

If you have any queries or questions about this please come and see us.

 

Thanks,

Chris & Kate