Alli often requests that we give her mental math problems. Of late, she seems to have latched onto basic multiplication. At the first answer to 2 times 2, I thought perhaps she didn’t get the difference from adding, but when she quickly came up with the right answers for 3 times 5 or 6 times 3, I took notice. Noticing that she wasn’t counting on her fingers and fascinated by the unique algorithms that kids come up with to do math operations, I asked her how she worked the problems out.
Her response: “Well, it’s like I have a piece of paper and a pen in my head, and I can just write things down and look at them there.”
And a followup: “Only since it’s a pen, I can’t erase. I have to cross things out.”
Then: “And I only have room for 4 lines on the paper.”
I then asked her what happens when the lines are full. She indicated that she has a few more pieces left in her head. I then asked what happens when all of the papers are full.
Her honest response: “That’s when I throw a fit.”
Probably the most astute observation I have ever heard.
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