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mitchellf
mitchellf asks:
Q:

I have a 3rd grader. Why are multiplication problems thrown at my child at random?

What happened to learning the tables by memory?
In Topics: School and Academics, Helping my child with math
> 60 days ago

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pigtoria
Feb 11, 2011
Level

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Hi Mitchellf.....

Math is not taught the same like how it was years ago.  The majority of the school curriculum teaches math based on the "spiral" method - which is introducing students to an idea but never "grounding" that concept because they will "spiral" back to it.

My second grader is already learning simple multiplication.  First he was taught all the sums of double digits and then it went a bit further saying that adding double digits is really the same as a number times two.  All these concepts were thrown onto the lessons/homework at "random" and that is because it's based on a spiral curriculum.

Also, you may find that terminologies for math has somewhat changed as well.  Last week, I found out that the term "borrowing" in subtraction is not commonly used. Instead of saying "borrowing" it is now being referred to as "regrouping".

The way math is taught is certainly changing - for better or worse.  As parents, we just need to keep up with those changes and learn along with our kids.

Hope this helps!

Vicki

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Additional Answers (3)

graham
graham writes:
It sounds like you are talking about two different goals. Memorizing the times tables can be helpful for later when your child will be doing more complicated math problems that involve multiple steps. Knowing the times tables in these situations just makes problems faster to solve.

There is another goal when learning multiplication, and that is understanding the concept and being able to apply it in different circumstances (for instance, with area calculations). It is possible your child's teacher is trying to encourage mastery of the topic by using random multiplication problems.

Multiplication is also related to other math concepts such as place value and so children need to come at the concept from many different angles in order to be fully proficient in the concept.
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi mitchellf,

I know exactly what you are talking about, my 3rd grader is also working on multiplication.  It seems to me that memory is the best way to master multiplication.  Therefore, I follow the learning principles that the school presents and work on memory practice at home.  There is also an association of division with multiplication in the fact family that you've probably already seen from school.  Here at education.com, there is a great activity that will help to teach both, I've attached a link.  The second link will save you time preparing the activity, instead of having to make the cards, you will find a printable version there.  I used card stock paper to print and then laminated the sheets before cutting out the triangles so we could get a lot of use from them.  Enjoy & Best wishes!

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EducationWorks Academy
EducationWo... , Child Professional, Teacher writes:
Hi Mitchellf : I would need more of an explanation of what is meant by math problems being "thrown" at random. It could mean one of two things. Either the person who is teaching is not a regular teacher ..perhaps someone who substituting and does not have a formal education in teaching or they are formally educated, but fairly new at the experience. Your child's school and curriculum should have a curriculum map which would direct the timing of what is going to be taught for each subject. Every teacher should be in-serviced and given information with reference to the pacing of the skills for the year.
> 60 days ago

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