Friday, October 03, 2014

Creative Way to Teach Distributive Property

As we are getting closer and closer to Thanksgiving...... I thought I would reintroduce this blog.  Enjoy!

The following is a great GED Math help activity on distributive property.

Yesterday I was introducing the concept of distributive property and needed to come up with a quick activity to help explain.  I have found that with most of my adult students, and I am sure it it also true with younger learners, understanding and simplifying an expression that contains the Distributive Property is difficult and confusing.  This is especially true for those prepping for the the GED Math test.

So, I decided to try to come up with a way to make the lesson more meaningful and concrete.  Here is what I did.... and not only did my students enjoy the activity.... but I think they GOT IT!

1.  I showed an example of distributive property on the overhead.  i. e.    4(x+2)

2.  I explained how to determine if it truly was a distributive property problem.  You have a set of parentheses, inside the parentheses you have two terms, the terms are separated with either a "+" or "-", and there is a term directly on the left side of the parentheses.

3.  Once they 'kind of" understood the components of a distributive property problem, I created a "nonsense" example for them.  Because we are so close to Thanksgiving, we decided to "distribute" 2 turkeys to Sally and Peter.  I set up the problem as follows:

2t (Sally + Peter)

The result was 2ts (two turkeys for sally) + 2tp (two turkeys for peter)>>>>    2ts + 2tp

We did several examples where we distributed "real" items.  After about 3 examples they began to understand....

4.  Once the students understood, I then took out the second person and added a number instead.  We distributed 3 pumpkins (3p) and practiced the idea of multiplying the factor by the sum of the terms inside the parentheses

3p (s + 2)  >>>  (3p)(s)  +  (3p)(2)  =  3ps + 6p

Sally got three pumpkins + six pumpkins

Tomorrow we will continue to practice using some great GED Math Worksheets.


Hannah said...

this is a really good way to demonstrate the distributive property! it's often hard for people to think in such abstract terms, adding an element of reality is always helpful

Anonymous said...

Wow! I have self-contained math this year (doing pre-Algebra), and this is a really good strategy. Thanks!!!