Yes, we do! Making sure that students build a conceptual understanding of what they are doing in math is extremely important to us. Not only will our students be able to do the necessary calculations in math, but they will also be able to understand WHY the process works the way that it does.
During our addition and multiplication unit we used Base 10 manipulatives to build multiplication problems as an array. By using this strategy, students can see where the numbers are coming from before being expected to use the standard algorithm. In the picture above, children worked together to build 55 x 65 as an array. Then they could easily pick out all 4 partial product equations and use what they’ve built to help them find and double check their answers.
After students have built their multiplication problem, they can then draw it in their math journal and record the appropriate equations. We are continuously thinking about how to be good mathematical thinkers, and part of this is making sure we record our work for others to see and in a way that makes sense.
Next week we are continuing to work on calculations within our small group lessons. We will be moving on to subtraction and division and continue to build strong understandings with the use of manipulatives.