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I’ve been thinking about what to do to update this Multiplication Table activity from the Julia Robinson Math Festival.  I got some good ideas from Steve Wyborney’s blog  — first of all to highlight the distributive property more for younger kids in some easier ways, and also to notice some patterns about the 2×2 squares of numbers. Thanks to Dan Meyer for pointing me to this blog!

I think I’ll spend the next few posts here writing about this activity and seeing what explanations I can add to the JRMF activity.

While I’m at it, let me remind you all about the beautiful idea of drawing the multiplication table to scale: this definitely helps with the noticing of the distributive property at work!  I think it helps with some other features of the table, too.  David Millar made some nice scale drawings of the multiplication table for me.  My favorite use of this drawing is to make it a lot easier to answer the question “What is the sum of all 100 entries in the 10×10 multiplication table?”

Anyone have some further suggestions of problems or patterns to notice in the table?

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