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Summary of Reference

Clark, Faye B. and  Kamii, Constance

Identification of Multiplicative Thinking in Children in Grades 1-5

Bibliographic data:
Clark, F. B., & Kamii, C. (1996). Identification of multiplicative thinking in children in grades 1-5. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 27 (1), 41-51.

Multiplication is often presented as merely a faster way of doing repeat addition, but multiplication requires higher-order multiplicative skills that are developed from addition. This paper reports on a study of grade 1-5 students in Birmingham, Alabama in which the students were interviewed to see how they solved a series of problems involving multiplicative thinking.

The study shows that multiplicative thinking is clearly distinguishable from additive thinking and that it appears early and develops slowly. This has clear implications for curriculum reform. If multiplication is to be taught effectively, we must clearly understand the nature of multiplicative thinking.