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  • Writer's pictureJasveena Kaur

Enhancing Mathematical Fluency: Teaching Multiple Strategies for Multiplication and Division

In primary school, the fundamental concepts of multiplication and division lay the groundwork for more complex mathematical understanding in later years. While traditional methods like memorization of multiplication tables and long division algorithms have been staples in classrooms for decades, the implementation of diverse strategies can significantly enhance students' comprehension and fluency in these operations. At Astor International School, we introduce various approaches to cater to diverse learning styles and provide problem-solving skills for future mathematical endeavours. 

Students in the classroom solving math problems at Astor International School

One of the most intriguing methodologies gaining recognition in recent years is the Japanese line method. This approach involves drawing lines to represent the factors being multiplied, breaking down the multiplication problem into smaller, more manageable steps. By visually representing the process, students develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between factors and products.

Similarly, the equal groups method offers a hands-on approach to multiplication, particularly beneficial for kinaesthetic learners. By grouping objects or numbers into equal sets, students grasp the concept of multiplication as repeated addition intuitively.

The repeated subtraction method involves breaking down division problems by subtracting the divisor from the dividend repeatedly until reaching zero or a remainder. While seemingly simplistic, this strategy encourages students to conceptualize division as the process of repeated subtraction. Likewise, the repeated addition method reinforces the relationship between multiplication and addition, allowing students to visualize multiplication as the accumulation of equal groups. By iteratively adding the same number, students build a conceptual understanding of multiplication.

Students in the classroom solving math problems at Astor International School

Incorporating column multiplication provides students with a structured approach to solving multi-digit multiplication problems. By breaking down the problem into smaller, manageable steps, students learn to align digits and perform operations systematically. Similarly, the long division method offers a systematic approach to division, particularly for dividing large dividends by multi-digit divisors. By following a step-by-step procedure involving estimation, division, multiplication, and subtraction, students learn to tackle complex division problems.

Teaching primary school students a repertoire of multiplication and division strategies takes their learning beyond rote memorization; it empowers them to become versatile problem-solvers equipped with a toolbox of techniques. By embracing diverse methods, educators cater to individual learning styles and foster a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. 

At Astor International School, we provide exposure to multiple strategies to cultivate flexibility in thinking, enabling students to approach problems from different angles and choose the most efficient method for a given scenario. Rather than viewing multiplication and division as daunting tasks, students develop a sense of curiosity and resilience, embracing mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth.

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