The hybrid learning environment described in the present paper aims at teaching multiplication using base ten blocks. These blocks are mathematical manipulatives that are divided into three groups Represented in Figure 1: single blocks, rows of ten blocks, and ten rows of blocks. While these blocks are often used to make children acquainted with ones, tens, and hundreds (Wickett & Burns, 2005), they are also useful for teaching multiplication. The use of such blocks was confirmed to be beneficial for children in primary and junior education (Lewis, n.d.). However, in order to improve learner outcomes, it is helpful to create a hybrid learning environment set of lessons that incorporates both online and face-to-face activities. The expected results of such classes are listed below:
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- Participants will be able to utilize base ten blocks to solve two-digit by one-digit and three-digit by one-digit multiplication problems.
- Participants will produce a short video of how they utilize the method for solving assigned problems.
- Participants will be expected to expand their knowledge to apply the method for multiplying two-digit by two-digit numbers.
- Participants will be able to apply the learned ideas to make multiplications without using ten base blocks.
The target audience of the present project is third-grade students in the K-12 educational environment. Since the developmental stage of the students has significant implications for planning the lesson, it is vital to get acquainted with the peculiarities of behavior of third-graders. Third-graders are known to have an increased attention span in comparison with younger children; however, the activities should be planned in intensive patches in order to avoid losing the interest of the audience (Myren, n.d.).
While third-graders become more patient, they still prefer sport and outdoor activities. The age group also has improved small motor skills and develop better eye-hand coordination. Moreover, such children prefer to work in pairs or small groups since they enjoy cooperation (Myren, n.d.). All these developmental characteristics can be used to improve learner outcomes.
There are also several seemingly negative characteristics third-graders possess that can be used to facilitate the learning process. According to Myren (n.d.), children of this age often demonstrate a know-it-all attitude, which is often associated with undertaking more than they can handle successfully. However, due to such behavior, children like to teach others, which is a very efficient learning technique called “teach-back.”
Moreover, it is common for third-graders to enter disputes (Myren, n.d.), which, if properly guided, can be used for discussing the projects of others. According to Myren (n.d.), children in this developmental stage have “the ability to recognize needs of others and empathize with them” (p. 1). Therefore, promoting critiquing and praising the work of others is a viable strategy for third-grade teachers.
The instructions for the online part will be introduced during the class, during which children will be given the link to the instructions video and to printable base ten blocks. A forum for online discussions, such as a Facebook group, will also be chosen during the preparation meeting. Since third-graders enjoy working in groups, the class will be divided into groups of three or four students to prepare for the project. The teacher should make sure that at least one member of the group can go online and make video recordings. If the children do not have appropriate skills for the online part, they will be encouraged to ask their parents for assistance.
For the first part of the assignment, students will be offered to watch a video by the National Center on Intensive Intervention (2017), which provides an example on how to use base ten blocks for modeling multiplication. The video was produced under the supervision of the US Ministry of education, which confirms that it is appropriate for the age group and authoritative. This video will be used as an example for future projects.
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For the second part of the assignment, groups of participants will be asked to make a similar video and post it on the discussion board. For the video, children can use the printable base ten blocks (see Resources/Links) or make their own blocks using available materials. Parents are also encouraged to take active participation. In the video, children are to prepare a narrative about how base ten blocks can be used for multiplication and provide an example. Students will be encouraged to think that they perform as teachers, which is vital considering their know-it-all attitude discussed in the previous section. The groups will be given one week to complete the assignment and post its result on the discussion forum.
During the third part of the online assignment, children will be encouraged to provide feedback for their peers. The feedback will be provided in the commentary section below each video. The teachers are required to provide positive feedback for the work of the groups below every video since children of this age often seek praise from adults (Myren, n.d.).
The teachers are also expected to monitor that all the feedback posted by students is fair and has an appropriate tone and choice of words. At this age, children have a strong sense of justice, which should be respected (Myren, n.d.). In summary, the online part of the project is based on a teach-back methodology.
The face-to-face elements will be provided during two sessions, which will be scheduled before and after the online stage. As mentioned above, during the first meeting, children will be given instructions about the online phase. It is worth adding, however, that the teachers are to pay special attention to the ethics of online conversations and evaluation posts. Moreover, teachers are to put a particular emphasis that artistic work is not graded, and online content can be criticized.
The concluding meeting is expected to consist of three parts. At the beginning of the lesson, students will be given a quiz with multiplication problems, which were discussed in the videos posted on the discussion board. The second part of the lesson will consist of sharing impressions with the class about the online project. During the discussion, the teacher is expected to provide verbal reassurance to group members and share videos made by students from other classes to compare the work.
During the third part of the lesson, the teachers should practice the method using standard techniques, such as asking children to come before the class and solve multiplication problems using base ten blocks. At the end of the lesson, educators are to summarize what was learned from the hybrid activity and make sure that everyone understands the purpose of the event.
Myren, D. (n.d.). So you’re teaching third grade. Web.
National Center on Intensive Intervention. (2017). Using base-10 blocks to multiply 124 x 3. Web.
Lewis, M. (n.d.). Benefits of math manipulatives. Web.
Wickett, M., & Burns, M. (2005). Exploring ones, tens, and hundreds with base ten blocks. Web.