7 Activities For Understanding Distributive Property In A Fun Way

Complexity in theories and notions is often enhanced with the grades. Mastering number sense followed by operations and a few properties are introduced subsequently. To have a better grip on numbers, mastering these regulations is crucial. When it comes to the multiplication of a number with a sum of two numbers, the distributive property may come into the limelight.

Learning this property on paper may be accompanied by some intriguing activities and online games to ensure the learner grasps the essence and practical side. We have curated a list of activities for you to help with the same. These are unique and may assist you in the diverse practices of the concept.  

Distributive properties- How do activities assist?

By definition, distributive property states that multiplying the sum of two or more addends by a number would give the same result as multiplying each addend with that number individually and then adding these products. This explanation may be grasped by some and some others may need additional training. Accordingly, activities here may assist in the following sections:

  • Active Learning and Practice: Classroom teaching may be evidently effective for learning. Nonetheless, adorning these with interactive activities may improve the learning experience. This may eventually lead to better performance due to active learning and practice. In research on studying the importance of activities in the classroom conducted by Kathy Missildine[1], it was observed that employing innovative activities in the classroom increases the performance of pupils. These inferences depict the significance of activities in active learning. 
  • To Review Before tests: While the pupils have ensured adequate training in the classroom, they may also use these activities to review the concepts later before examinations. Further, some activities can also be used as class tests to assess the abilities of students. 
  • Boosting new Strategies: Traversing with various entities, campaigns may often provide new insights that may assist in better performance. For instance, an activity employs tiles for reckoning. This activity may assist the pupil in visualizing the expression to solve it swiftly.

 Fun activities to master distributive property concepts 

Enticed with the probable benefits of the activity-based practice, here are our crafted choices that may retain your thrill. 

1. Dice the Expression

Solving questions from the textbook or as a part of a class test may be often limited. To create a pool of sums to practice, employment of dice may be a fair idea.

  • To start with, the teacher provides students with dice, paper, and a pencil.  The student needs to roll the dice thrice to get three numbers to form a question.  
  • For instance, if the three numbers they get on dice are 3,5, and 4, then the fabricated questions will be 3(5+4). 
  • Similarly, the pupil continues to roll until they get a pool of 10 questions. 
  • Later, they sit back to solve all these questions to complete the activity. 
  • This activity can be a substantially great class and after-class activity that can make the student engage in the concept for a long time, ensuring mastery. 

2. Distributive Tombola 

Distributive tambola

We all have played a fun game of tombola or bingo as kids. This game is not just for kids, but a common game for adults too! This game now also be transformed to practice distributive properties as well. 

  • With tombola or bingo, we usually get tickets that have numbers displayed on them. The teacher would be the speaker who would be calling out the numbers, and the students would be playing the game like usually. 
  • The only catch here is, that as soon as a student completes a line, they need to submit the ticket, with the numbers in their distributed expression.
  • So, after calling out every number, the teacher would wait for 1 minute, so that students can convert that number in an expression. 
  • For example, if the teacher says 45, and a particular kid has 45 in their ticker, first they will strike off the number, and on a separate page, they will write the expression 9(2+3). 
  • The kid who wins the line, or the house, along with having the correct distributed expression of each number would win the game.
  • Besides the fun factor, the students would be time-bound in completing the expression, as the teacher would wait only for a minute by the clock to call out the next number. 
  • This will help with the quick learning of how to form expressions. 

3. Daily Household Consumptions

All the math regulations may be identified in real life. The concept of combos in shops may be a good example. This practical example may be used as an exhilarating activity. 

  • We have regular subscriptions for milk and other items like bread. The teacher can ask the student to talk to their parents about their daily milk and bread consumption. 
  • This activity can be performed at home also. Next, the student needs to jot down how much their family is spending on milk+bread on a daily basis.
  • For example, if the house is consuming 1-liter milk, which costs 30 cents, and one packet of bread every day which costs 15 cents, then the daily cost of milk+bread would be 45cents. 
  • Next up, they would be asked to calculate the monthly expense of the same using the concept of the distributive property. This can be done as:
    • 30 (30 + 15) = 30 * 45 which is calculating the daily expense and multiplying it by no. of days in a month. Or 30*30 + 30*15 that is calculating the monthly expense of the items separately which is the first step you get after solving the parenthesis using the distributive property
  • To make the activity even more exciting, the kids can be told to ask for the expenses of 5 more such household goods that are used or consumed on daily basis. For example, fuel, vegetables, snacks, chicken, etc. 

4. Riddle Worksheet 

Pupils may feel it enticing when they have a strong reason to solve an expression. This activity ensures the same with the implementation of riddles in it. 

  • To start with, the mentor prepares a set of questions in a worksheet (Say 10). Each question starts with a riddle that the student needs to answer. As a hint, an expression is provided. 
  • Solving this expression can either give an answer or hint for the same.  For example, the riddle can be “What is the number whose constituents’ product is zero,” and the hint can be 5(7-5) or 2(2+3) or any 2-digit number multiple of 10 whose constituent product is zero. Here, the student can solve this statement to get the answer (10). 
  • The questions can get complicated as the pupils go around with more questions. 
  • This activity may be a good pick to stipulate motivation in students to learn. For this reason, it may be chosen as an icebreaker activity at the start of the day. 

5. Poster Fun 

Poster fun

To introduce the concept of Distributive property to early students, employing pictures and posters may assist. This activity, therefore, may be an introductory learning pedagogy. 

  • To incept, the teacher procures color papers (at least three colors), glue, a marker, and a piece of plain paper. The mentor cuts out one circle out of each color paper (say red, blue, and pink); later, each circle is cut into two halves. 
  • Now all these cuttings and other tools are offered to the student and are asked to create a poster of Distributive property out of it. 
  • The students start with creating an equation with cuttings. For instance: ‘Red arc’ (“Blue Arc” +” Green arc”). Then, they glue each of the half circles in place to form this equation. Below that, they need to expand this expression and represent the same as (“Full circle with red arc and blue arc”) + (“Full circle with red arc and green arc”). This arrangement is made by gluing relevant pieces of paper. 
  • The students can make similar posters with varying shapes as well. This campaign may ensure creativity and tactile learning in students along with notions of the distributive property. 

6. Match up cubes

Match up cubes

In the sphere of distributive property, it may be observed that an expression may be presented in a number of ways. For instance, 10(7-4) may also be represented as 10(2+1). This activity helps pupils to identify them effortlessly. 

  • The process starts with the instructor producing a set of 20 building cubes and an erasable marker. 
  • Two cubes are taken, and two forms of the same expression are written on each of them. 
  • The same cycle is continued for the other 18 cubes as well and then are shuffled well. 
  • Now the teacher calls upon the pupil and asks them to match these expressions in pairs by joining them.  
  • The students analyze the expressions and pairs up by joining them, finally making out 10 pairs. Later, the mentor can erase the expressions, replace them with new ones and start the activity again. 

7. Distributive Ludo

Distributive ludo

We all have played and loved fun and exciting round of ludo! So how about a twist in Ludo that would help the kids learn so much about the distributive property. 

  • Basically, for this activity, the teacher can either take a spare ludo board or can make one using cardboard.
  • If the teacher decides to self-create, it can be a fun classroom activity where they can ask the kids to make one small ludo board each using cardboard, chart paper, and markers. 
  • These can also be done in a set of 4, as ludo is best played in a set of 4.
  • Basically, on the ludo board, there would be some numbers that would be placed in random order. 
  • So, the plain tiles would not be plain anymore – they would have numbers. Next, each student will take a dice and play their turn. The dice need to roll twice. 
  • So for example, if the number comes 2 in the first time and 6 in the next, the student would move their token two tiles ahead and see what number they land on. 
  • Say the number comes up to be 5. Next, for the 6, they will again move 6 steps forward, say the number is 8. 
  • Now, the students would have to multiply them (5*8), and create a distributive expression of this number which the teacher would evaluate and if the formation is correct the student remains on that place or else he/she has to move 5 steps back.
  • The rest of the rules remain the same. Whoever reaches their home first, wins the game. 

This can be a fun picnic activity for the kids where they can have some fun and learn simultaneously. 

Distributive properties campaigns – How did we choose these options?

Activities are a great way to learn and use what has been taught during classroom hours. These also illuminate the students about how these concepts can be used in daily life. For the same, we made sure these were all fulfilled while crafting our choices for you. Here are those postulates to edify you in considering our choices: 

  • These choices are easy to deploy anywhere. All the activities that we have hinted at here may be employed in the classroom or at home effortlessly, While the majority of these can be implemented with just paper and markers. Some may need readily available objects like cubes, glue, and math tiles which are easy to arrange at one’s convenience.
  • These activities are built on elementary campaigns. All the options that we have provided here need only a basic knowledge of numbers. This ensures a sequential approach to the concepts, which makes learning a smooth process.
  • They ensure an in-depth understanding of notions. While traditional teaching may make students grasp how to apply the property on paper, the sensible applications of the same may be missed out. Some manevoures like ‘order from the menu’ ensure education.
  • These campaigns may ensure tactile learning. Touching various objects like dice, tokens, tiles, and cubes may create a strong impression to recall the notion later precisely. 

Concluding thoughts

Being one of the pivotal concepts in higher grade math, students need to propel learning, and thereby deeply indulge in the process of Distributive learning. With the insights provided above, one may make out how campaigns can bridge the gap between abstract and sensible learning. Further, employing these as pass time can relatively expand the study hours, thereby grooming them into better mathematicians. Check out the picks above to discern if any of them can be an apt pick for your young arithmetician. 

References :

  1. Missildine, K., Fountain, R., Summers, L., & Gosselin, K. (2013). Flipping the classroom to improve student performance and satisfaction. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(10), 597-599.

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