Out with the old school, in with the new school: How mathematical methods have changed! (Part 1 – yes there’s more than one part!)

Chunking, gridding, number lines…

These are just some of the new methods used in the primary school maths revolution!

If you are a parent scratching your head at the mathematical methods schools are teaching today; that have drastically changed from your school days; do not feel alone, as tens of thousands of similar parents struggle with their children’s primary school maths!

 

out with the old and in with the new multiplication.png

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9820261/Parents-struggling-with-primary-school-maths-homework.html

Today we are going to focus on one of the big two that many parents have found hard to adapt to; (including myself as a Maths Teacher) which are the changes to long multiplication….

Although we are a stubborn nation who love to think “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” and I’m sure you’ve found yourself or your partner saying to your son or daughter, “that’s not the way I learnt and I get the right answer…my method is much easier”, mathematics has been changed for a fundamental reason and a positive one at that!

Mental arithmetic, problem solving and applied maths have and will continue to greatly improve with the new methods and techniques. The new methods teach us not to look at maths as a regimented formula we blindly follow like in our day but as a scenario we need to work out logically.


mobile phones.jpg

Take this as an example, just last week I needed to renew my phone contract with T-Mobile, so I went to the shop and the salesman said to me “you’re looking at an 18 month contract at £43/month….or you’re alternative is to buy the phone outright at £599 and use a SIM ONLY deal, which will cost you around £12/month…”

 

What do I go for? Does anyone know what those figures are?!

In our day, those sums needed a pen, paper and long multiplication, but now that dilemma can be roughly estimated and worked out in your child’s head…

The first positive to come from the changes to curriculum and teaching methods is that I can guestimate those answers fairly quickly.

I know through rounding that the cost of the contract will be approximately £800 by rounding 18 months up to 20 and £43 down to £40

(That’s 4 x 2 = 8 with two 0’s…800!)

I also know that my alternative is £600 plus the cost of the SIM ONLY deal will be approximately £200 by rounding 18 months to 20 and rounding down £12/month to £10 giving me a grand total of £800!!

I should’ve guessed there wouldn’t be too much difference!!

THE GRID METHOD (And how your child would work out the exact answer!)


 Option 1

18 month contract at £43 a month, this multiplication would be split into 4 easier multiplications and worked out using the grid method:

The first step we do would be to partition (split) our numbers into units and tens.

18: units = 8, tens = 1 (the value of this 1 in the tens column is 10 [1x10])

43: units = 3, tens = 4 (the value of this 4 in the tens column is 40 [4x10])

So now we have our numbers: 8, 10, 3 and 40. These numbers will now be placed into the grid;

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 16.42.57.png

Now we can perform our multiplications:

10 months x £40,

10 months by £3,

8 months by £40 and

8 months by £3

Once we have worked out the 4 easier multiplications we would add up the answers to get our final product.

£400 + £320 + £30 + £24 = £774

 Option 2

£599 phone + (18 months x £12/month)

So our multiplication would be worked out in the same way using the grid method.

The first step we do would be to partition (split) our numbers into units and tens.

18: units = 8, tens = 1 (the value of this 1 in the tens column is 10 [1x10])

12: units = 2, tens = 1 (the value of this 1 in the tens column is 10 [1x10])

So now we have our numbers: 8, 10, 2 and 10. These numbers will now be placed into the grid;

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 16.43.05.png

Again, once we have completed our grid we would add the answers together, remembering to add the initial cost of the phone.

£100 + £80 + £20 + £16 + £599 = £815


Regardless of the phone, the point is maths taught today can make our lives much easier and the use of the above grid method can reduce the potential errors associated with the old methods used, as well as increasing our mental capability and mental arithmetic!

We would love to hear any problems, help, hints and tips you have or need with your kids maths homework!

And make sure you keep tuned for next week’s discussion on long division!

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Posted on September 24, 2013 .