Discovering Multiplication

By Wendy Leitner-Sieber

Our third graders are enthusiastic about their multiplication work. Today, the students were busy answering this complex, equal group question: There are bicycles and go-karts at The Wheel Shop. Each bicycle has only one seat, and each go-kart has only one seat. There are a total of 21 seats and 54 wheels in the room. How many bicycles are in the shop? How many go-karts are in the shop?*

We encourage students to work together and find solutions in multiple ways. Look at some of the different strategies students used below:

Multiply5 This student decided to use bingo chips to represent seats and base ten blocks to represent wheels.
Multiply4 Here is a closer look at his hard work!
Multiply1JPG Some students opted to draw bikes and go-karts on paper.
Multiply2 Others worked together using whiteboards and blocks.

Our learning today stemmed from “guessing and checking” while trying to find a solution; negotiations with teammates; and post-activity conversations. This will surely be a stimulating math unit!

*This problem was created by The Noyce Foundations. You can find this one and similar ones on