February 17, 2014
Gizmo of the Week: Critter Count (Modeling Multiplication)
Designed for younger learners, the Critter Count Gizmo provides students a fun and engaging introduction to multiplication as repeated addition. For example, 2 × 3 means “two threes,” or 3 + 3. This example in the Gizmo would be modeled with 2 leaves and 3 critters on each leaf.
Once students are comfortable with using repeated groups to model multiplication, they can click the Array button to rearrange the critters in a rectangular array. Using the example above, 2 × 3 would be modeled with 3 critters in 2 rows, arranged neatly as a rectangle.
Students can choose the type of critter, the number of leaves, and the number of critters on each leaf. It’s simple and fun, and drives home the concept of “multiplication as repeated addition.”
In addition, the Gizmo begins to form a connection that will serve students well as they progress in math – namely, the connection between multiplication and area of a rectangle.