Concepts and misconceptions are at the heart of maths education. Our goal is to give out children an understanding of concepts that they trust and can use. We may have to do this through knowledge and skills because (except in The Matrix) we cannot download whole concepts into people’s heads. We can run into difficulties if we assume that certain concepts are in place based only on the assessment of a few key facts and skills.
AN EXAMPLE – MULTIPLYING BY 10
Let’s start with a simple one. Lots of us either learn or realise that if we multiply whole numbers by 10, we can just add a zero to the end of the number to get the answer. Most educators realise that this is a very limited trick but it allows children to develop ways to respond to questions before they can deal with the concept of place value.
The problem is that the technique suggests that you can just append numbers here and there. It is a way to get a correct answer but not a mathematical operation that works in any other situation
This type of problem is commonly seen in algebra when people talk about moving numbers or variables to the other side. It’s not so bad to do this once you have a strong concept of algebra but before that, it tends to develop real misconceptions about how maths works.
ROBUST CONCEPTIONS OF MULTIPLICATION
If all you learn about multiplication is times tables and perhaps the column method, it won’t be too
It is really important for developing
PRACTICES FOR BROADER CONCEPT OF MULTIPLICATION
Here are a few things that will really help you broaden the concept of multiplication for your children or students.
2) Use grids, tables and webs to model multiplication as well as lists