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Montessori Math: Multiplication
Pros: Four-fold instructional approach helps build conceptual understanding and fluency; games let kids apply what they learned.
Cons: Learning through exploration is encouraged, so scores and progress aren't tracked, and kids don't get feedback for incorrect answers.
Bottom Line: Multi-level approach to teaching multiplication appeals to a variety of learners and helps build both conceptual understanding and fluency.
Since the instructional methods are diverse and certain numerical settings can be adjusted, you could use Montessori Math: Multiplication as a supplement when kids begin to learn about multiplication, or as extra practice for kids who know the basics. Have beginners start with the multiplication board and work their way up to the magic slate. For more advanced learners who already have a conceptual understanding, begin with the bead frame or even the magic slate. Once kids are comfortable with a particular instructional method, challenge them with the games and have a class-wide competition to see who can earn the most points to build the silliest monster.
Learning how to multiply can be downright monotonous, and understanding the process is often difficult for young learners. Luckily, Montessori Math: Multiplication gives kids several ways to learn, build, understand, and practice their multiplication skills. And a handful of Common Core math standards are covered as well.
At the home screen, kids tap a multiplication symbol to begin learning. They can choose from any of the four instructional methods. The multiplication board teaches kids to build arrays and learn times tables up to 10 x 10; the stamp game and bead frame use place value decomposition to help kids learn to regroup and carry when they multiply large numbers; and the magic slate offers kids the opportunity to multiply in columns, one digit at a time. When kids return to the home screen, they can access a Toolbox and a Playbox. In the Toolbox, kids can practice decomposing numbers and can use an interactive table to memorize their multiplication facts. In the Playbox, kids can apply what they learned, as well as take on more challenging problems, by playing three different games. In "Missing Digits," kids have to find missing digits in multiplication problems; in "Wiz Quiz," kids get timed, random multiplication problems to solve; and in the "Bubble Game," kids drag the correct bubbles into place to complete problems. Kids earn points for all of their hard work, which they can use in the Monster Lab to buy body parts and build a silly monster. Other features of the app include the ability to add multiple user profiles and customize settings including choosing a language, turning off the sound, and setting parameters on multiplication facts.
Kids can learn how to multiply using a step-by-step instructional approach that promotes fluency as well as conceptual understanding. Four areas of instruction include the multiplication bead board, the stamp game, the bead frame, and the magic slate. When kids use the multiplication bead board, they can learn multiplication tables up to 10 x 10. Kids drag beads onto a board and form arrays for each multiplication fact, which helps them visualize the repeated groups that make up the fact. Kids can then take a multiplication table quiz, which is located in the Toolbox, to assess their learning. When kids use the stamp game, they multiply large numbers by 1, 2, or 3. Kids break the large numbers into place values using "stamps" arranged in columns, and then add the stamps up to get the product. This approach helps kids understand the concept of regrouping and carrying, and the Toolbox has an activity in which kids can practice decomposing numbers using stamps. When kids use the bead frame, they continue to work on regrouping and carrying, but they have to carry over more often since there are fewer pieces for each place value. And when kids use the magic slate, they apply the more traditional approach of multiplying in columns with a vertical problem format. The learning progression is very well done and can be customized to fit different levels. Kids do not have to complete one area of instruction in order to use the next one –- they can start anywhere they like and move from different areas as needed. This is especially helpful for differentiated instruction.