One of the hardest things for kids as they learn math can be that they are rarely exposed to mathematics in their daily lives. Parents play an integral role in preparing their children for the math classroom. To encourage my daughter’s math skills, I decided to try out a product from a line of dishware called The Multiples, a company specializing in dishes that help teach multiplication. Introducing the item in my house revealed to my daughter Samantha that I value her math education. As a certified teacher, I noticed that this item would be a great way to continue math education over the summer.
Teach Multiplication with The Multiples
Teach Math with Everyday Activities
I chose to try a curriculum set called The Middle Years. My daughter is five, so the product’s age range of age six to eight was ideal, especially since I was going to be working with her to use it. Each item in the set encouraged numeracy skills. The sheep plate showed numbers in groups of threes, the rooster bowel showed groups of fours, the dog cup showed groups of six, and the bunny plate showed groups of eight.
Learning Math Can Be Simple!
Even though teaching a five year old about multiplication sounded difficult, the set was very effective in getting my daughter interested in repeated addition. Days after we began using the dishes, I came downstairs and I was greeted by my daughter saying, “Mom, three plus three plus three is nine.”
“Well, yes,” I said. “How do you know?”
“I just jumped on the three sofa cushions. I counted the lines on the cushions and they went three, three, three, to nine,” she said.
Now, I can’t say whether my daughter would have counted the sofa cushions anyway, but I did think it was a coincidence that we had recently talked about adding the dots on the plates to get a new total. Days before, jumping from number to number on the plate helped Samantha better envision that repeated addition was simple, as she practiced saying each number during dinner. In an authentic setting, Samantha was able to still see patterns that reminded her of adding groups of the same size.
One of the misconceptions I had to clarify when Samantha was using the plate was that each individual group wasn’t represented by the number next to it. For example, the bunny plate shows numbers that go up by eight, but the groups stay the same size – each group has eight dots. Some kids might need the explanation that addition is happening in each step. Clearly, the company couldn’t represent 64 dots in such a tiny space, so kids need to picture that each group adds to the next group to create the next number.
Direct instruction is very valuable. Kids need to hear how the product works in order to understand the math connections. A short explanation and some modeling were all my daughter needed to be able to work with the set independently. After I explained that the number 64 represented all of the dots up to that number, Samantha understood how she could get the new total with dots and with numbers.
I absolutely enjoyed this set of dishes, and I already have my eyes on The Later Years set for the future. I would highly recommend using the items to help reinforce math concepts over the summer, when kids can get out of practice with their math skills.
I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion.