Here at Demme Learning, we take pride in developing and producing the highest quality educational materials possible. Sometimes it takes years of research, development, and testing before a new product becomes available. We asked our Managing Editor, Scottie Altland, to give some insight into what went into creating our newest Math-U-See product – Accelerated Individualized Mastery for Multiplication with a Bridge to Division.
Realizing There Was a Need
Q: What sparked initial conversations about creating a program for the student struggling with multiplication skills?
A: AIM for Multiplication was an idea born from the conversations our Placement Specialists were having during support calls. They realized that a vast number of parents were not aware their students were struggling in their math progression due to lack of fact mastery. Multiplication struggles may become evident to a parent when their student is asked to solve word problems, multi-digit multiplication problems, long division, and/or early work with fractions. The parents were not sure what the problem was and were looking for advice on how to help their student.
Q: After the initial conversations about the need for a program like this, where did you start?
A: First, we determined the audience we wanted to target: Students ages 10 and older who are struggling with their math progression due to a lack of basic multiplication fact mastery. Next, we defined the prerequisite skills a student needs prior to beginning the program. Then we mapped out the scope and sequence of the program.
Developing a Sound Product
Q: What’s involved in the development of the Scope and Sequence?
A: To develop the scope we started with the end goal of students being able to recall their facts from memory within 3 seconds or less without counting or other support. Then we reviewed the learning standards that would help us achieve that end goal. Next, we wrote the learning objectives and thought about the assessment methods an instructor could use to formatively and summatively assess their student throughout the program.
From here we worked on the sequence, determining the order in which the facts and strategies would be taught. This was a very intentional process as we want students to build on their knowledge as they progress through the program. The way the facts are grouped and the order they are taught is a purposeful learning progression. Students use their prior knowledge of facts they have mastered in previous lessons to learn new facts and strategies in future lessons.
For example, AIM for Multiplication teaches the tens facts prior to teaching the fives and nines facts. Students are able to use their knowledge of the products of the tens facts and apply it to learn the strategies to find the products for the fives and nines facts in the following lessons.
We also wanted the number of multiplication facts covered in each lesson to decrease as the student moves through the program. The way the facts are grouped and the order in which they are taught allows for this.
Q: Who actually writes the materials?
A: The core content team for the project consisted of a content lead (myself) and two dedicated editors. We worked together almost daily. During work sessions, we discussed instructional strategies and how to best visually illustrate those strategies with our integer blocks.
Initially, I drafted content and the other editors would review, comment and recommend changes to ensure clarity, ease of reading, etc. They were also instrumental in developing content for the lessons and supplemental resources (including video instruction) in AIM for Multiplication. Then we work with the designers, who help layout the content in a way that will help instructors visually understand and navigate the instructional materials most effectively. We go through several rounds of editing with design to ensure the content is accurate, easy to read, and error-free.
Q: What research is involved in creating a product like AIM for Multiplication?
A: LOTS! We started looking at our Gamma program. Since AIM for Multiplication is not intended to be a student’s first experience with learning multiplication, we wanted to be sure that the strategies and methods moved beyond the initial introduction and learning that is presented in Gamma. To help older students master multiplication facts we needed to bridge those initial learning experiences toward fact recall.
Information came from reading through educational learning standards, NCTM standards and articles, as well as educational journals relevant to math education in order to find different methods for teaching basic math fact strategies for multiplication mastery.
Then we had to plan out how instructors could best guide and monitor their student’s learning, while at the same time, how students could most effectively and efficiently practice the strategies using the Math-U-See integer blocks along with the Build, Write, Say, Teach-Back method. We spent quite a bit of time experimenting with the integer blocks during this time!
Part of this research also included reviewing instructional methods that benefit students in an intervention program. The Sessions A – D in an AIM lesson are ordered in a specific sequence to move a student through the learning process to be able to quickly and easily recall the answers to multiplication facts. They are based on the Concrete, Representational, Abstract Model (CRA Model).
Thank you Scottie!
AIM for Multiplication offers a solution for students struggling with their multiplication facts.
Is AIM for Multiplication Right for My Student?
AIM for Multiplication is not meant to be a students first experience with multiplication facts. AIM for Multiplication is designed for students:
• Aged 10 years of age and older
• Have completed multiplication fact coursework without mastery
• Are struggling as they face increasingly advanced math concepts
• Use ineffective strategies such as tally marks or count on their fingers
• Need more effective strategies to increase fact fluency
Ready to get started?
Need help determining if AIM for Multiplication is right for your student? We are here to help!
See What’s Inside
The AIM for Multiplication set includes everything you need to effectively help your student achieve multiplication fact mastery through the tens facts. See what’s included with AIM for Multiplication – Unboxing Video.