Tips to Helping Your Seventh Grader with Factoring and Multiples in Their Math Homework

Seventh grade math class materials often include slightly advanced concepts like factoring and multiples. Defining these concepts for your child at home can help him or her to better understand the material taught in class as well as problems presented by homework assignments. Read on to find out more.

What Your Child Needs to Know

By the seventh grade, your child is probably aware that all numbers are a combination of other numbers, with the exceptions of zero and one. Teach your child that factoring is a way of looking at how a number or product can be made. The factors of a product are the numbers that combine evenly to make that product.

Breaking this idea down into simpler terms can help your child to grasp it. Explain that when multiplying two numbers, you get a product. The numbers that are multiplied are that product's factors. Products can have a set of factors or just one factor; either way, factors must always be composite numbers, prime numbers, zero, or one. Make a chart of products and factors and post it in a dedicated study area of your home for your child to reference as needed.

Helping with Factors

There are a number of definitions and facts that your child must know and understand in order to work with factors. First of all, teach your child that factors are one or more numbers that are multiplied to get a product. Then, explain that factoring involves breaking numbers down into their components. When factoring, your child will discover numbers whose only other factors are one and themselves (prime numbers) as well as positive numbers that aren't prime numbers (composite numbers).

Often times, your child will be asked to find the greatest common factor of two numbers in a homework assignment. To find the greatest common factor, list the factors of both numbers and then compare those numbers. The highest number that they both have in common is the greatest common factor.

Helping with Common Multiples

Finding the least common multiple can be thought of as the complete opposite of factoring because multiples are the result of adding any number to a given integer. For instance, multiples of 3 include 6, 9, and 12 because 3 x 2 = 6, 3 x 3 = 9, and 3 x 4 = 12. Tell your child that a common multiple is a multiple that two or more numbers share. Similarly, the least common multiple is the smallest multiple that two or more numbers share. However, this number will never be zero.

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