A few days ago, I was pleasantly surprised when my four-year-old son asked me about the little “x” symbol he sees all the time.
“It’s the symbol that usually appears alongside plus and minus,” he explained.
I told him that the “x” was a multiplication sign, and he promptly asked me to teach him how the symbol worked. Of course I couldn’t refuse such a request, so I came up with a way to explain how multiplication works with our four hands and 20 fingers. Despite the obvious limitations, he enjoyed learning the basics of multiplication with me.
Fortunately, now you won’t need to invent such a hack when your kid asks you to teach them about multiplication, because developer Les Elles Trois has just released Montessori Math: Multiplication to help juniors learn these concepts. The app is really good in illustrating how a Montessori educator would approach the problem.
If you want to get the most out of Montessori Math: Multiplication, there are two prerequisites that you need to fulfil. The first prerequisite is understanding the concept of addition involving two or more large numbers. The second one is understanding various tools used in the Montessori approach, such as color coding, stamp game, and beads.
This app provides a way for you to understand these concepts through its Toolbox. In it, you can learn and practice how to use color-coded beads and stamps to represent large numbers.
But still, the best way to complete these prerequisites is by playing the prequel apps from the Montessori Math series: 1st Operations and Add/Subtract Large Numbers. In these apps, you will learn how the Montessori approach uses color codes to easily represent units, tens, and hundreds. You will also see the benefits of using stamps and beads to perform addition and subtraction, including the ones that involve two or more large numbers.
Four Stages of Learning
To teach juniors the basics of multiplication, Montessori Math: Multiplication offers four stages of learning. You don’t have to follow these steps, but I suggest you try them if you’re playing for the first time.
The first learning stage uses a multiplication beadboard, which is a 10×10 multiplication table that has been converted into a bead board. The app will ask you to fill up one or more columns with beads up to a certain row. For example, to calculate 3 × 4, you need to create four columns that contains three beads each. It’s a great way to enforce that multiplication is basically adding the same number over and over again.
The second stage uses the stamp game to introduce the concept of multiplicand and multiplier. First, you need to represent the multiplicand as color-coded stamps. Then, you need to repeat it for as many times as the multiplier. Once completed, you can sum up the stamps and propagate a group of ten stamps to one unit of a higher column. Even though it’s limited to a multiplier of three, this approach is able to illustrate operations that involve large multiplicands, up to 9999.
The next stage is similar in concept to the stamp game, but it uses beads and is much quicker to perform. Basically, you need to pull down beads in the quantity represented by each digit. Repeat this step as many times as the multiplier, and you will have the final result. It’s a simple approach that works well with multipliers up to three, and perfect to quickly perform simple multiplications.
The final approach uses a magic slate, which is similar to a blank sheet of paper. In this stage, you will work with multipliers up to 999. You work with the multiplier one digit at a time, then sum up the results. The app will automatically fill in the trailing zeros as you work with multiplier digits of tens and hundreds.
Games and Quiz to Reinforce the Concepts
Besides the main lessons, you also learn by playing several games in the Playbox. In the first game, called Missing Digits, you will learn to complete the missing digits in a complex multiplication involving two large numbers on the magic slate. In the second game, called Wiz Quiz, you’re asked to complete multiplication problems either mentally or by using pen and paper. In the final game, you are challenged to solve various multiplication problems by dragging the correct answer bubbles.
Additionally, the Toolbox menu contains two tables that can help you understand the concepts even better. The first one is the standard multiplication table, similar to the beadboard lesson. You can also play the Quiz mode where you rebuild this table by solving 100 multiplication problems from 1×1 to 10×10.
The second table is the multiples table, in which you use the standard 10×10 number table to highlight all the multiples of a single number. For example, tapping on the number 3 will highlight 3, 6, 9, 12, and all other multiples of three up to 99.
Parents Need to Know
Montessori Math: Multiplication is a great way for juniors to learn multiplication. The app explains things in great details and step by step, allowing kids to truly understand the concept of multiplication.
The app supports multiple user profiles, thus it can track how well each user is performing and offer a dynamic progression in difficulty levels. Using an exclusive algorithm, the app will automatically increase the difficulty level from 1 to 4 as the user demonstrates improvement in competency.
The app also allows you to override the difficulty level alongside other settings, such as languages and the game timer. This lets you tinker and find the appropriate difficulty level for each of your juniors.
Finally, Montessori Math: Multiplication offers a way for juniors to create monster characters as a form of reward. They can purchase all kinds of accessories for their monsters using the points that they collected during the learning and playing sessions.
Montessori Math: Multiplication is a must-have app for juniors ages 7+ who want to truly grasp the concept of multiplication. Using in-depth and step-by-step lessons, the app is able to demonstrate the strength of Montessori approach in teaching this concept. I’m a fan of Montessori educational methods, and I highly recommend this app.
App was provided for our honest review.
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