Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Matt Roscoe

Faculty Mentor’s Department

roscoem@mso.umt.edu

Abstract

There has been a fair amount of research over the past several decades on teachers’ understanding of the multiplicative structure of integers. What can easily be discerned from the literature is a lack of understanding on the part of these educational professionals. It would be easy to assume that this lack of understanding is thereby held by the students in these classrooms. Yet, very little research has examined children's understanding of this mathematical idea. In this quasi-experimental study, we focus the effects of the use of a manipulative, the prime towers, in a three-day teaching experiment carried out in a fourth grade classroom. Students “build” towers of blocks that represent each number 2-100 as a product of prime factors. Towers are studied, compared, and contrasted to build understanding of the significance of prime factorization in predicting a number’s multiplicative structure. The experiment measured students’ ability to identify use prime factorization as a tool to find all the factor pairs, multiples, prime, and composite numbers for natural numbers 1-100 (Common Core Standard 4.OA.4). The results demonstrated represent four classes of fourth grade students spanning two schools. The conclusions drawn will help to identify and refine instructional practices that promote the understanding of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic at a fourth grade level. In connection, both qualitative and quantitative data are presented to insure the practices promoted are both instructional and engaging.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 27th, 11:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:00 PM

Building Prime Towers to Understand Prime Number​

UC South Ballroom

There has been a fair amount of research over the past several decades on teachers’ understanding of the multiplicative structure of integers. What can easily be discerned from the literature is a lack of understanding on the part of these educational professionals. It would be easy to assume that this lack of understanding is thereby held by the students in these classrooms. Yet, very little research has examined children's understanding of this mathematical idea. In this quasi-experimental study, we focus the effects of the use of a manipulative, the prime towers, in a three-day teaching experiment carried out in a fourth grade classroom. Students “build” towers of blocks that represent each number 2-100 as a product of prime factors. Towers are studied, compared, and contrasted to build understanding of the significance of prime factorization in predicting a number’s multiplicative structure. The experiment measured students’ ability to identify use prime factorization as a tool to find all the factor pairs, multiples, prime, and composite numbers for natural numbers 1-100 (Common Core Standard 4.OA.4). The results demonstrated represent four classes of fourth grade students spanning two schools. The conclusions drawn will help to identify and refine instructional practices that promote the understanding of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic at a fourth grade level. In connection, both qualitative and quantitative data are presented to insure the practices promoted are both instructional and engaging.