# Has the Grid Method disappeared?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by clairev1985, Jul 18, 2018.

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1. ### clairev1985New commenter

Hi!

I may be a little late to the party with this, but I've just downloaded the White Rose Maths primary calculation policy to use next term; I couldn't see the grid method there explicitly.

I just wanted to clarify before I set this expectation for the staff team at my school! I feel like it's been removed as it's a whole other method that can easily be taught without understanding for the underlying concepts, whereas breaking down the column method makes more sense.

2. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

Do not worry about White Rose. The grid thing is not used in Secondary, except for remedial purposes with those Year 7's who've been unfortunate enough not to be taught the columnar method satisfactorily. Bin the grid thing.

3. ### strawbsEstablished commenter

however the grid method does come in rather handy at secondary when expanding quadratics!

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4. ### ElfruneNew commenter

For me - absolutely not. Many of our students would really struggle expanding trinomials without it, some continue to get traditional long multiplication wrong and find gelosia a good alternative. I do understand the government wanted to go away from gelosia, but if a student cannot do traditional (sorry - I hate the word 'traditional' as gelosia has been around for many more years than the traditional method) long multiplication, it remains an acceptable alternative provided they can get the correct answer. I also feel there is as much understanding with the method as with traditional long multiplication, and it can be more accessible as moving towards 3 digit by 3 digit multiplication for many.

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5. ### snitzelvonkrummOccasional commenter

Agreed! Bin the thing.

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6. ### jcstevNew commenter

It's used a lot in Secondary. It shows clearly what is actually happening in traditional column multiplication. It helps a lot with multiplying out quadratics. It's not the only way, but it's a useful approach.

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sort of sums up the problem with "there is only one correct way" which has become more and more prevalent n many areas especially in Academy chains. The grid method has some very useful applications but is less efficient for larger numbers. The old toolkit and rucsac approaches both suggest we should give children a method that works for them.

8. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

A hammer to crack a nut, such is the simplicity of the required quadratics.

9. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

They should persist with columnar methods, primary children can master these. Gelosia itself is laborious and a more complex algorithm.

The government's Mathematics POS do not refer to long multiplication as 'traditional' nor is gelosia traditional to our country.

I prefer that pupils learn a quick method of multiplication.

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10. ### ElfruneNew commenter

If you prefer the quick way, teach them how to do it in their head then and just write down the answer. Me - I prefer the method that will lead the right student to the right answer - some of mine I show how to do long multiplication in their head (up to 3x3 digits - anything more gets too confusing), some traditional and some gelosia. I choose the method that they can master from my experience as a teacher.

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11. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

If mental arithmetic were so easy for novices then we would not teach formal methods, the subject of this discussion.

I feel it unlikely that any child who could not be taught long multiplication might be more easily taught the more complex gelosia. I'm more inclined to think that a child who has not learnt long multiplication has a teacher who prefers not to put in the time with a method which they personally find less interesting.

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12. ### ElfruneNew commenter

I have taught 2 people from ethnic origin China that could not do the formal way no matter how much I tried but could just write down the answer using the (do not know what to call it) - | X | method (think that may make sense to those in the know). I meet many students working below grade 1 in year 11, 12 and 13 who I have to get a grade - they cannot do any method (they struggle on their tables which lets them down when it comes to the formal method - they can take minutes to work out 7 x 6) who can do the grid (as they can have a break half way through the question - tables tire them out). Such the nature of comprehensive education - teaching from below grade 1 to grade 9.

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Then the problem is timetable recall speed, not the method itself. For such simple thing as multiplication, one method that can be used fluently is much better. When these kids go further and start learning topics that have only one way of doing, do they then complain about not having a better for them to understand method or should they suck it up and learn it?

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14. ### Maths_ShedOccasional commenter

Why would there be a problem over the method used? They only need to know how to multiply by hand until the end of their GCSE's and after that it is calculators all the way.

I don't teach grid method for anything other than quadratics and surds, I primarily teach multiplication by the chinese method (the one with diagonal lines) and recommend that any checks are done using a different method. I can't think of a good reason why the method employed would matter, as long as they reach the correct answer I'm happy.

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15. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

The easier the algorithm the faster it can be represented and the more efficiently it can be reproduced in schema.

16. ### Maths_ShedOccasional commenter

I'd agree but perception get's in the way. I'd say the Chinese algorithm is far simpler than the column method.

Why be concerned when a student has a method that they use and get questions right every time, the time saved is negligible?

I would agree that binning the grid method from ever being taught in the first place would be preferable but that's not the reality and for some the column method doesn't work.

17. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

I would not. It gets unwieldy very quickly.

Pragmatically, this depends upon the size of the multiplicand and the multiplier. Pedagogically, the sooner a child moves on from iconic representation to symbolic then the quicker they will progress through Arithmetic and onto Mathematics.

The columnar method always works if it is learnt.

It's always interesting to see what a student does with 300 x 4000. The column method has loads of zeros. The Chinese (gelosia/Napier's Bones) method has loads of zeros. The grid method is redundant because there is only one row and one column.
So you can identify a student who understands WHY and HOW multiplication by the fact they just say it's 12 with 5 zeros and then write 1,200,000

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19. ### Vince_UlamStar commenter

The end of teaching a formal method is not that formal method but this, then the clearer the algorithm the better.

20. ### armandine2Established commenter

presumably some attempt at standard form