Multiplication expedition: In search of elusive models
add to queuerecommend activity

Paradox stairs

You can create:

  • A collection of multiplicative situations relevant to your life and your interests
  • A collaborative visual times table collage
  • Conjectures and theories on uses, differences, good and bad features of different multiplication models

Take a notebook, a camera or just your imagination and go on an expedition to find multiplication. You can search your backyard or the web, you can draw or photograph what you find, you can do it alone or with a group. Some multiplication instances are easy to see. Some are complex and hidden. Start by finding any and all. Then you can search for new kinds of multiplication.

You can hang a big piece of paper on the wall and keep adding your multiplication finds to it over some days or weeks. This way, there will be some reminder of multiplication in your daily life.

This gallery lists a dozen situations where you are likely to meet multiplication. I bet you there are several of them in the room where you are reading this description. You can store your finds in the gallery, too.

For a more difficult quest, try finding multiplication examples that always have some particular numbers and no other numbers. Say, a chess board is always 8*8, and our fingers are always 2*5. This is very hard to do! For a few examples, head to this "intrinsic multiplication" gallery. It's somewhat empty, because intrinsic multiplication examples are hard to find.

Because this activity can be done at many levels, in many media from text to video, in long stretches of time or one-minute snippets. It connects each person's interests and life to multiplication. It is a good fit both for organized learning (when you sort and categorize models) and for eclectic unschooling projects.

As you go

  • See what kinds of numbers could fit into each multiplication situation. Check fractions, negative numbers, zero. Can area be a fraction, or a negative?
  • Grab your favorite multiplication fact and find it in as many situations as possible, in as many multiplication models as you can.
  • This activity answers the question, "What's multiplication for?" - hopefully, before you even start doing multiplication formally.

Higher and deeper

  • If you try to search for particular multiplication pictures on the web, you will see severe limitations of current search engines. Picture content search is a cutting edge topic of artificial intelligence.
  • Crystals are never based on pentagons (can you figure out why?) - so to find the number five for your multiplication, look at either living nature, or culture. Before that first organic matter, Earth had no fives anywhere.

Strewing and snippets

This activity is perfect for tiny snippets! You can do it on trips, playing outside, relaxing around the house, just anywhere. If you want to support "math strewing" through it, put up a poster board and write, sketch or type your found multiplication models on it.

Created: December 6, 2008, 8:21 am, by MariaD
Last edit: January 3, 2009, 12:58 pm, by MariaD ( Edit, History )
Co-author: MariaD