Math Background

Regrouping to Multiply and Divide: When Students Ask

  • Why should I bother learning multiplication?
    Tell students that they will use multiplication in other topics they study in math class, such as geometry and measurement. They will also use multiplication in real life when they are shopping, keeping scores in games or sports, doing craft projects, cooking with recipes, and doing other activities.
  • Why do I need to check my answer when I multiply and divide?
    It is common for students to resist taking the extra time to check their work. However, once students find a few of their mistakes, they will be more likely to see the value of this extra effort. Students need to know that checking their work is not simply busy work.
  • Why should I bother learning division?
    Point out to students that division allows them to share quantities equally. Give them examples of things they couldn't do without division. For example, they couldn't decide how to share 20 baseball cards fairly among five friends or how to decide the number of tables needed to seat 450 students in a cafeteria. Have students describe other things they couldn't do without division.
  • How can knowing multiplication facts help with dividing greater numbers?
    Explain to students that dividing greater numbers is a step-by-step process. By committing multiplication facts to memory, they can focus on the steps involved in the process and not be slowed down by trying to find the product of a basic multiplication fact.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 3