I like to teach multiplying with negatives in a similar way to how students learned multiplication at primary school. As a quicker and more efficient form of long addition. This way students consolidate addition and subtraction with negatives and extend that to multiplication and later division.
-2 x 3 is three lots of negative two or more precisely, positive three lots of negative two.
So -2 × +3 = + -2 + -2 + -2 = -2 -2 -2 = -6
2 × -3 = – +2 – +2 – +2 = -2 -2 -2 = -6
-2 × -3 = – -2 – -2 – -2 = + 2 + 2 + 2 = +6
We work through a couple of problems this way on mini-whiteboards. I ask the students to show their working only when they need to as I’m aiming for them to naturally progress on to mental methods rather than written working. When the students generate their own rules of arithmetic as a natural progression of what they already understand they are more likely to apply that learning correctly in the future.
The less able students have a laminated number line to work on along with a timetables grid. The main learning point here is writing out the multiplication as a long addition or subtraction not necessarily being able to perform the arithmetic.
I challenge the more able students to investigate what happens when a negative is raised to an even or odd power. This continues their exploration of multiplying with negatives into index notation.
Last year my school had a OFSTED trial inspection. Whilst the maths team recieved favourable feedback the inspectors noted a need for a focus on whole school literacy. Because of this I was asked to demonstrate how we develop student’s literacy in mathematics. Literacy in Mathematics By developing student’s literacy in mathematics we aim to […]
There are two key learning points when solving problems with angles in polygons. The first is to understand why all the exterior angles of a polygon have a sum of 360°. The second is to understand the interior and exterior angles appear on the same straight line. Students can be told these two facts and […]
When getting ready for a new school year I have a list of priorities to work through. Knowing my team have all the information and resources they need to teach their students gives me confidence we will start the term in the best possible way. Mathematics Teaching and Learning Folder All teachers receive a folder […]