The Associative Property of Multiplication doesn’t get much credit. It is sort of a term that is thrown about with little care. More often than not students are finding the patterns and doing the work without realizing there is terminology to what they are doing.
Today I gave a remote learning mini-lesson on just this. We used the chat box, they got into break out rooms, we used omnifix cubes to build models (that were given to all students last week during a materials pick-up), and lastly we practiced with multiple problems in small groups (slides 7 & 8) after our whole group session.
This foundational work helps students to understand the patterns of multiplication that are used with adding and subtracting fractions, as well as how to more efficiently solve the problems that are not memorized, like 13 x 4.
This is the keynote I followed to keep me on track and give students a visual if I was moving at a speed they were not comfortable with.
I began by giving them the opportunity to tell me what they thought the Associative Property of Multiplication was in the chat. This gives students a way to voice without having to speak out in front of their peers. I also give them the choice to send their chat to the whole group or to me privately. Again, honoring their comfort level.
Between slides 2 and 3, I gave a brief explanation of the associative property because the students seemed to be thrown off by the “big” words. When they came back from Break Out Rooms, the first time, I gave them time and space to reflect on group work as well as to give examples of the associative property. I wrote down what they said in the chat, for others to copy down in their Math Journals if they wanted, as well as another place to see the information.