IMG_0040

 

Any idea what’s going on here? In case fuzziness is an issue, the question is “What is the biggest multiplication that you know without thinking very much about it?”

Also, I anticipate getting some flack for the wording of this question being potentially confusing. I don’t disagree, necessarily, but I want to offer a partial defense of the question. First, I had been reading the TERC curriculum and they make a point of not saying “multiplication facts,” instead always saying “multiplication combinations.” I haven’t wrapped my head around what makes sense to me, so I punted on the question, figuring that I’d be there to help kids figure out what it meant. And I did, and everybody else offered answers that made sense. Most importantly, the question served it’s purpose: some kids wrote “8 x 8” while others wrote “1,000,000,000,000,000,000 x 10.”

fawn mult

 

  1. What exactly is the shortcut?
  2. Why does this shortcut seem reasonable?
  3. We’d all agree, I think, that 2 x 6 = 26 is not a result of this kid not understanding what multiplication is. I’ve made that mistake before, and I bet that you have too. So, why is it a  common mistake? What does this say about how a mind works while working on math?

[Any advice on how to tag this, CCSS-wise?]