Children's Math: Division and Multiplication for Young Kids

Learning math is like building a house - it must be done a 'layer' at a time. Each layer must be done carefully and thoroughly to have a useful finished product. Let's look at division and multiplication as one of the layers.

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Teaching Division and Multiplication to Young Kids

Background for Multiplication and Division

Children will generally struggle with division and multiplication if they don't thoroughly know addition and subtraction. It's best to be positive that they're comfortable with adding and subtracting before you take them further. Before beginning multiplication and division, use informal assessments, like flashcards, to judge their ability level.

Simplifying Multiplication

Use Models

With an egg carton and dried beans, ask your child to use the objects to visually depict a multiplication problem. For instance, for the problem 2 x 3, you could have three beans in two of the egg carton cups or two beans in three cups. The number of beans in each cup are known as groups or sets.

Take your time and be sure your child understands the concept before moving on to another (remember the analogy for building a house). He or she should be able to clearly explain how multiplication works to you.

Simplifying Division

Reverse Multiplication

If your child knows the multiplication facts, division may be easier because you're simply rearranging multiplication problems. In other words, instead of 4 x 5 = 20, the division problems would be 20 ÷ 5 = 4 and 20 ÷ 4 = 5. As a result, you can use multiplication to check division answers and, conversely, use division to check answers to multiplication problems.

Teaching Strategies

Because every child learns differently, use a variety of teaching methods. Have your child recognize patterns within the multiplication table by color-coding similar types of problems. When it comes down to memorizing a few facts for a test, use old standbys, like flash cards, worksheets or even computer games.

You can aid retention and make learning more fun by reading stories about multiplication. Songs and rhythmic chants are also helpful for many kids. The more methods you use, the more you can repeat the most enjoyable ones, which can help your young child learn division and multiplication in a positive and productive way.

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