[math4] [utos-xo] 4.N.12 - Mutiplication
blendmaster1024 at gmail.com
Wed May 27 22:04:24 EDT 2009
this is a good idea except that animation generally sucks on the XO.
other than that...
On 5/27/09, Shawn Willden <shawn at willden.org> wrote:
> At the Utah OLPC meeting my son and I volunteered (were volunteered?) to
> 4.N.12 in the curriculum, which is addition of up to five-digit numbers and
> multiplication of up to three digits by two digits.
> This note is intended as both an update on our progress, and a request for
> comments. All suggestions/corrections/flames are welcome.
> Not satisfied with my own ability to effectively teach fourth grade math, I
> enlisted the aid of my son's (fifth-grade) teacher, Mrs. Woody (copied on
> this e-mail), and she pulled in a few other third and fourth grade teachers.
> I asked them how they teach multiplication, and we brainstormed a bit on how
> we can effectively translate those techniques to software.
> By the way... I *highly* (highly!) recommend that anyone working on the 4th
> grade math project find a local teacher who has experience teaching the
> concepts to children. Particularly with simple math, knowing how to do it
> *very* different from knowing how to teach it.
> Some of the constraints that we think we're working under are:
> 1. We are providing only a piece of software, and we can't know exactly
> explanations will accompany it. So, ideally, it would be good if the
> could learn to do multiplication ONLY given the operation of the software.
> This is a didactic activity not a practice activity.
> 2. Any textual or verbal explanations provided by the activity will have to
> be translated for every country that will use it. So it makes sense to
> minimize the use of text and speech, and to teach the process as much as
> possible with numbers, arrows, and animations. I do want to use audio cues
> for emphasis, but those don't need to be verbal.
> 3. XO storage capacity is limited, so extensive imagery and audio files are
> bad idea (and outside of my skill set to produce in any case).
> Within those constraints, though, we think there is a lot that can be done
> with animation and simple sound effects.
> One of the points that the teachers emphasized is the importance of teaching
> children not only the mechanical process of long multiplication, but also
> importance of place values, and their role in why the process works. To
> end, they recommended teaching long multiplication by "pulling apart" the
> For example, given the problem 284 x 48, that problem can be broken down
> two sub-problems: 248 x 8 and 248 x 40, the results of which must be summed.
> Visually, we think we want to present the whole problem on the left-hand
> of the screen and then pull it apart with an animation by having the
> constituent sub-problems "fly" to the right side of the screen, leaving the
> whole problem in place.
> Each sub-problem will then be worked separately, and as each result is
> completed, it will "fly" over to slot into place under the whole problem.
> Finally, the addition will be performed.
> Animation will also be applied to carries. A digit-pair multiplication will
> be performed by the student and the result written in its place underneath
> the multiplicands, and then the carry digit will "fly" up to its place.
> For example, after the multiplication of 5 x 5, we'd have:
> x 5
> And then the '2' would fly around, shrink a bit and settle above the '8' in
> the carry location.
> The teachers also suggested an incremental teaching process, whereby the
> computer does more of the work at first, eventually leading to the child
> doing the problem entirely without help. We envision this proceeding
> according to the following steps:
> 1. Fly-apart demonstration mode, no carries. This might be used by a
> to demonstrate the process, without student or interaction, or by a
> student "self-teaching". At this first level, the problems would have no
> carries. The computer would perform all of the animations, step by step
> the click of a "next" button, and it would break the problem apart as
> described above.
> 2. Fly-apart handhold mode, no carries. The computer walks the student
> through each step of the process, visually highlighting, for example, pairs
> of digits to be multiplied or added and prompting the student to enter the
> answer. Still no carries.
> 3. Fly-apart corrective mode, no carries. The student performs all of the
> steps in order, and the computer indicates whenever the student makes a
> mistake, not allowing the student to proceed in an incorrect manner.
> 4. Fly-apart demonstration mode, with carries.
> 5. Fly-apart handhold mode, with carries.
> 6. Fly-apart corrective mode, with carries.
> 7. Normal demonstration mode, with carries. In this mode we would start
> the "normal" long multiplication process, performing it in place rather than
> separating out the sub-problems.
> 8. Normal handhold mode, with carries.
> 9. Normal corrective mode, with carries.
> 10. Drill and practice mode. Just like normal corrective mode, but without
> the corrections, just a correctness indicator after the problem is complete.
> 11. Test mode. The student answers a series of problems and receives a
> at the end.
> In the above sequence, each demonstration mode would normally occur only
> followed by a handhold mode 2-3 times, followed by a corrective mode
> until the child does it without making process errors.
> There is probably value in having the demonstration modes be "shareable", so
> that a whole class can watch a demonstration, but we're not sure we see
> collaborative value in any of the rest of it. I'd think all problems worked
> and the results should probably be logged to the journal.
> Those are our current thoughts on multiplication. Addition is similar, but
> simpler, with fly-apart and animated carries. And, obviously, long addition
> must be mastered before long multiplication is attempted.
> Any comments? Are we overthinking this? Any other ideas about how
> collaboration might be usefully incorporated?
> Shawn and Ethan
> P.S. from Shawn: This project will probably take many months to complete.
> Ethan, my 11 year-old son will be doing nearly all of the programming, under
> my close guidance. He's just learning to program, so it will proceed
> especially at first.
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> utos-olpc at utos.org
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