[Numeracy 593] Re: Teaching math and numeracy skills to adults learning English

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Arva Carlson arvac at ninestar.com
Thu Oct 21 12:44:31 EDT 2010

The student may have been using Lattice Multiplication. It is a common
algorithm in Europe.

From: numeracy-bounces at lincs.ed.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at lincs.ed.gov]
On Behalf Of Chip Burkitt
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 5:34 PM
To: numeracy at lincs.ed.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 592] Re: Teaching math and numeracy skills to adults
learning English

When I taught basic math at Century College here in Minnesota, I taught how
to multiply multi-digit numbers. I used the algorithm I learned as a child:
write down partial products in staggered columns and carry extra digits to
the next column for adding. Most students were already familiar with this
method, although strings of zeroes in the multiplicands tended to confuse
them. However, one student from Russia came to me after class and asked if
he could use his the method he learned in Russia. He showed it to me. (I
wish I had written it down because I can't remember it.) It took only a few
moments reflection to realize that his method would work just as well, so I
gave him the go ahead. The method was very different, but the outcome would
always be correct.

For students who struggle with the "standard" method of doing
multiplication, I sometimes explain an alternate method that involves
halving one multiplicand while doubling the other. After getting down to 1
on the first multiplicand, then you eliminate all the pairs (halved,
doubled) where the halved number is even. Summing the remaining doubled
numbers gives the correct answer. It basically uses binary arithmetic to get
partial products and then sum them.

For example:

37 x 82
18 164
9 328
4 656
2 1312
1 2624

82 + 328 + 2624 = 3034

Of course, for some problems this method can be cumbersome, and it always
pays to put the smaller number first. However, many students find it easier
to implement.

Chip Burkitt

On 10/20/2010 9:51 AM, Seltenright, Ginny wrote:

I think that there's a misunderstanding due to the title of the booklet
referred to here, "The Answer Is Still the Same...It Doesn't Matter How You
Got It!"'

It does matter how you get there, what doesn't matter is that the student
uses a different process than what the teacher perhaps is showing or another
student is using. I went through the TIAN training in Arizona which
emphasizes student exploration and the idea that there are many ways to get
to the answer and then having students show how and why their answer works
(or perhaps doesn't work) and making sure it works every time too. It isn't
about just getting an answer and it being ok- which is possibly how the
title may be understood now that I am reading this discussion. I agree with
you Susan, in that we need to be sure the student is making a connection to
the problem, the process, and what means to them. This is the idea behind
the TIAN approach and Mary Jane's training involves training teachers to
think this way also.



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