## Example of distributive law, Mathematics

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Maya gives the children examples of distributive with small numbers initially, and leads them towards discovering the law. The usual way she does this is to give the children problems like 'An army officer has 7 rows of buttons on his uniform, with four in each row. 4 rows are above the belt, and 3 below. What are the total number of buttons?'. They usually count all the rows, and write that the total is

7 times 4 = 7(4) = 7 x 4 = 28.

Then she gets them to do it in the following way: 3 ROWS

How many rows above the belt? ...... 4 rows. 4 ROWS

So, how many buttons in all above the belt? ...... 4 times 4, i.e., 16.

How many below the belt? ,.. 3 times 4, i.e., 12.

How many in'all? ..... . 16 + 12, i.e., 28.

Both the answers are the same. Why is this so? ,  (4x4)+(3~4)=(4+3)x4

She does a rough drawing of 7 rows of 4 buttons each , and points out to them how the 7 rows can be broken up into 4 rows and 3 rows. She also points out that this covers all the buttons. So

7 rows = 4 rows + 3 rows

After some of these types of examples, she gives them problems to do on their own too.

Once they have had some practice in applying the distributive law, she introduces them to the use of distributive for multiplying a 2-digit number by a I-digit number.

For this, she begins with giving them story problems like 'A boy sells plastic flowers packed in sets of 5. He keeps 10 packets on his right and 4 on his left. How many flowers does he have in all?'. She leads them towards applying the distributive law by asking questions like "How .many packets in all?", "How many on his right?", etc. Asking relevant questions, she lets the children discover that

What she stresses in this process is the first step, i.e., the distributive. With more examples of this kind, she finds that the children slowly begin to recognise that when a 2d1git number is to be multiplied by a single digit number, it is broken up into tens and ones, each is multiplied separately, and these products are added to get the required answer.

She also gives the children the following kind of exercises to do to practise distributive.

Of course, this is not a one-time activity. She returns to distributive again and again, over a period of time, while they are learning the standard algorithm.

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