I'm Bon Crowder and the photos above are both of me - in 1989 and today. I'm a Generation X mom of Generation Z kids.

I began peer tutoring in high school in 1984. MathFour.com is the 2015 version of me helping peers be comfortable in math.

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Tag Archives: multiplication

Addition & Multiplication Don’t Mix

This is Day 29 of 31 Days of Math Learning Success. Follow all the days here and check out others that are writing for 31 days here.

Just as oil and water don't mix, addition and multiplication don't mix. Unless you shake really hard!Oil and water don’t mix.

You likely have heard (or been told) that multiplication is repeated addition. (Although there are some camps that are vehemently against this comparison.)

So you’d think that multiplication and addition would play nicely together.

But they don’t.

Two worlds

Addition World and Multiplication World are two separate planets.

In Addition World, there’s one superhero named Zero. She keeps things level.

The Additionians are numbers. They interact only with addition and subtraction. So when they get together or separate it’s with addition/subtraction.

Some of the Additionians have soul mates. Like dolphins, and 50% of humans, they mate for life.

When they get together with their soul mates, they accomplish great things – together they’re as good as superhero Zero.

Multiplication World

Jaunting over to the other planet we see a different superhero. His name is One. And he’s just as cool as Zero, but in a different way.

All the Multiplicatites (also numbers) get together with multiplication. And if they want to separate, well… you guessed it… they do it with division.

Many of the Multiplicatites have should mates too. And just as the Additionians, a number with his mate is as good as the superhero on their planet – One.

The Route Between the Worlds

But we humans do see addition and multiplication together in expressions, right? So what’s up? Certainly they can interact.

Well, there is a route between the worlds. It’s called the Distributive Detour.

It allows Multiplicatites to interact with the Additionians. And it works like this:

8 \cdot 36 = 8 \cdot (30 + 6) = (8\cdot 30) + (8 \cdot 6)

The humans, that’s us, say that multiplication distributes over addition. And we call it the distributive property.

The moral of the story

So this is all cute, but how does it help you be a better math student?

Keep them separated!

Don’t let addition or subtraction get in multiplication or division’s business. And don’t let the other way happen, either.

Only allow that through the proper route – the Distribution Detour!


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3 Responses to Times Tables Bootcamp

  1. […] are confident with basic arithmetic. My guest post over on the Math is Not a Four Letter Word blog “How to set up a Times Table Bootcamp”, gives actionable tips for middle and high schoolers who need to get back to the times tables […]

  2. I love seeing blog posts about the principle, “big picture” foundations of good math teaching, such as times tables. Well done, Caroline and Bon!

    Perhaps we’re seeing a backlash to the trend that seemed to gain traction around 10 years ago, to de-emphasizing times tables memorization “because the kids now have calculators”. I certainly hope so – that was a really bad idea IMO.

    I love the Napier’s Bones graphic – a great example of application of times tables, in a pre-microchip “calculator”.

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Calming generation X in math since 1985.

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