Monday, December 9, 2013

Diving into the Distributive Property

The Common Core standards have thrown many challenges at my third graders this year in math.  One of the biggest challenges has been helping my students grasp onto the concept of the Distributive Property of Multiplication.

Vocabulary is definitely a key area of Common Core and I have found that if students can use the math vocabulary terms correctly, then they understand the concept.  To help my students with the terminology of the distributive property, I make sure I say the word distribute in sentences at least 20 times a day!  I will say something like, "When you get your homework, please distribute the sheets to your table" or "Distribute yourselves into teams of four."  I also have a special section on my white board that is designated to special vocabulary words for a unit. If students can use "jackpot" words in explanations and sentences throughout the day, we call out JACKPOT and students can pick out of the Jackpot jar.  The jar has skittles, runts, and other colorful candies inside.

Also, every time a new unit or concept is introduced in my class, I make an anchor chart to display throughout the unit.  This helps with vocabulary and key concepts...and is also a quick reference when my students need a little reminder :)

In late August when my students were first exposed to this property, I was a little worried about how I was going to expose the concept in a way that my 8 year olds could truly understand.  Luckily, I found an amazing array activity on TPT.  You can find this activity at Tonya's Treats for Teachers. These task cards really hit home with my kiddos and explained the concept of breaking a larger array into two smaller arrays.  This was a great transition into distributing multiplication facts!
 To piggy back off of this activity, I created some scoot cards and an Around the Room activities with arrays that also help students break apart multiplication facts using number bonds.

 My students are now transitioning into using "Familiar Five" facts to help them solve more difficult facts.

 This week we are starting with the 6's and 7's.  I teach my students to distribute the 6 into 5 +1 and the 7 into 5 +2.  Next week, we will distribute 12 facts into 10 + 2.  I have struggled to find appropriate resources for my students to grasp this information, so I have created a packet of Distributive activity sheets, homework sheets, and partner activities.  You can find that in my TPT store. A bundle of all of my Distributive Resources (including Scoot cards and Around the Room cards) is also available. To get a sneak preview of my lessons, I am offering a FREE Multiply by 7's Using the Distributive Property.  Check it out, here.

I know I will have much more news on how my third graders are coming along with the Properties of Multiplication!  The Associative Property will be our next challenge :)

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