Thursday, February 3, 2011

What is That "X" Again?

Watching your kids learn is so exciting!  Here's what happened at our house the other night.  Christian saw a multiplication equation on TV, and asked me, "What's that 'x' mean again?"  I said it meant "times" but knew I had to find a way to explain it.  The boys have story problems in their homework every night, so I know how they go... I drew the picture below and said, "Here are three baskets of strawberries.  How many baskets are there?"  He answered, "three."  I wrote that down and continued, "How many strawberries are in each basket?"  He answered "two."  Going for the finish, I said, "So if I have three baskets and there are two strawberries in each one, how many strawberries do I have?"  He answered correctly, and I wrote down the rest of the equation {or number sentence, if you're a first grader}. 

I added another basket, walked him through the equation, and kept talking, hoping he was understanding the concept.  {Are you admiring my phenomenal art skills yet?}

Then I said, do you want to do a really tough one?  Of course he couldn't resist a challenge, so I drew the picture below and asked him to write the number sentence.  He wrote it immediately and with the right answer!

I asked him if he could draw his own picture with a number sentence.  He did this one, and thought it was pretty funny.  {When you're used to 1 + 1 = 2, it's hilarious that 1 x 1 = 1.}

I didn't know this stuff until third grade.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go momma!! That is so awesome!! I'm a 2nd grade teacher and I've always taught my students that the "x" in a multiplication sentence means "groups of." Nearly all of them get it pretty quickly with that and a few lovely visual aids such as the ones you've posted here!