Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps by Maureen Stearns
The concept of book is to simplify multiplication and division so that regardless of whether or not a student can memorize the times table, they will always have a strategy that helps them to be able to figure out the answer, how to get it and why that number makes sense. This method of counting tally marks help to reduce errors in counting and increase confidence in mathematics.
There are large diagrams that help to explain the reasoning of multiplication and this method of multiplying. The vocabulary used is also broken down and made easier to follow allowing this method to be taught to any child that has mastered addition. The concept of this method is easy to catch on to and resembles the traditional tally mark way of multiplying with the exception of the “steps” which is the reason for the ease and accuracy of this strategy. The method is then taken to the next level to show how it can work for division.
The addition of quotes and proverbs provide encouragement and inspiration for the readers while the larger print on large pages leaves no doubt about how easy this method is to learn. Tested the method and concepts on my own children and discovered that having this tool in their reach took the stress of memorizing the times table away and actually allowed them to start to remember their times table quicker. The old adage about learning for yourself will stick with you longer than just being told something really stands up to the test when it comes to multiplication and division. Knowing how and why that number is the right answer makes it easier to remember what the number is.
This method is so simple to teach and easy to use that I find it surprising that it isn’t already widely used, maybe it is in some areas. I do know that the ease of use alone has allowed my youngest the confidence to make a great improvement in the math scores brought home from 3rd grade. The confidence alone has increased the scores, but the method behind it also helps with those tricky problems.
2/25/11 4 starts (★ ★ ★ ★)