Although designed to build fluency with basic multiplication facts, we found the activity had other benefits. In order to maximize your chances of filling up the grid, rectangles needed to be placed strategically. Also, in order to calculate your final "score", you needed to do some computation.
|Students experimented with different computation strategies, from adding up all their products to subtracting the total number of blank squares from 100. |
The activity provided inspiration for a number talk:
And when we experimented with a 20 by 20 grid, and dice that would generate higher factors, things got a bit more difficult...
And a little messier...
We also challenged the kids to find different ways fill up the grid using exactly 10 rolls:
The rectangles came in quite handy when we got to studying area and perimeter:
|There's really no escape from the scissors.|
|We had them cut out the rectangles, find their perimeters and areas...|
|...and sort them based on their relationship.|
I'm often asked, "What do you look for when choosing a game or activity to bring to a class?" Once it passes through the first, most important test of might a kid who doesn't like math find this engaging, I look for its potential to be extended or repurposed. There's something about the idea of becoming familiar with the way something works, then using that familiarity to build on or connect to something different, that appeals to my sense of how we grow and learn. How Close to 100? is a good example of an activity that checked off those boxes.