Developing an Understanding of Prime and Composite Numbers
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# Developing an Understanding of Prime and Composite Numbers

A collection of materials and strategies used to effectively teach the concept of prime and composite numbers
Curated by Lacey Smith
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## Math Games: Prime and Composite Numbers- Fruit Shoot

Learn prime and composite numbers in this fun free arcade flash math game.
Lacey Smith's insight:

I think that this game is a great way to incorporate technology into the math classroom! This game would be really beneficial to use if students were in math stations. This activity could be set up on the computers in the back of the room and it could be one of the stations that students work with during a reivew sessions before a math assessment. The game is a fun way for students to quickly determine whether a number is prime or composite. The faster they correctly answer the problem, the more points they receive. I would like to implement this activity in my own classroom in the future because I beleive it is an interactive way to reinforce what students have learned about prime and composite numbers and it is an engaging way to get students excited about practicing math!

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## Using Area Arrays to Teach Prime/Composite Numbers

Lacey Smith's insight:

After finding the 1-100 factors listing activity for a math notebook, I have decided that I think creating an interactive math notebook for students is a really beneficial idea. In this notebook I would ideally like to include helpful tips, notes, and strategies for different math topics that students can refer to whenevery they are struggling with a specific area. This flip book with area arrays would be one of them! This blog includes a lot of great math strategies and techniques for teachers, and this is one of them! My class used area models to introduce the concept of prime and composite numbers, but I like the idea of taking it a step further with this flip chart. This chart allows students to tie everything that they have learned about square numbers, prime numbers, composite numbers, and factors into one handy piece of paper. Students will have the definition of each concept and an example of how it can be explained using the area model. The students in my clasroom really like using the area model because it makes visual sense to them, and I like using it because I think it allows for students to see the conceptual side of mathematics. I think creating this flip book would be a beneficial way to tie everything together for students, and this is definitely a strategy worth implementing in my future classroom.

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## Prime & Composite Numbers

A short teaching video to explain Prime and Composite Numbers to year 5 and year 6 students
Lacey Smith's insight:

I really liked the strategy this video utilized for teaching the difference between prime and composite numbers. They talked about "numbers that can be divided evenly." Rather than only focusing on the concept of factors, and how prime numbers only have one set of factors and composite numbers have two or more sets of factors, this video explains the concept to students in a unique way. I think that explaining that composite numbers are numbers that can be divided evenly would be a much easier way for students to grasp this concept. I did not use this strategy when I initially taught my lesson on prime and composite numbers- I only focused on factors. Looking back on my lesson after having watched this video, I believe that if I had used this different approach, my students may have more quickly grasped these new vocabulary words.

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## Charting Prime & Composite Numbers

Lacey Smith's insight:

I think that this is a great tool to provide students with to help them identify which numbers are prime and composite and to be able to prove how they know that. I like that this chart includes all of the factors for each number so that students do not just know if a number is simply prime or composite, they also know WHY it is prime or composite based on how many factor pairs it has. I think this would be a great strategy to implement in my teaching placement now. Many of our students struggle with being able to recall the factor pairs for different numbers. If we had them use these charts to find all of the factors for all numbers 1-100 by doing one page per day, our students would have a wonderful resource they can refer to! I also think the color coding strategy would be very beneficial in assisting students in recognizing which numbers are square numbers and which numbers are prime numbers. I think this is a great note-taking activity to have students work on the day after they learn about prime and composite numbers. These factor pairs can be difficult for students to create, so if they had practice doing all of the numbers 1-100 at least once, the math may be more likely to stick with them!

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## Hundreds Chart to Teach Prime/Composite Numbers

Lacey Smith's insight:

I really liked this lesson that can be used to help students better identify which numbers are prime and composite. Students often have trouble remembering which numbers and prime or composite, and it can be time consuming for them to try and individually test each number to see if it can be a factor for the bigger number. Having students complete this activity with a hundreds chart (shading and coloring in numbers with a certain color that are factors and multiples of 2-10) is a great visual for students to use when they are trying to determine if larger numbers are prime or composite. Students could fill these out and keep them at their desk so that they can become familiar with and practice remembering which numbers are multiples or factors of which. I think providing students with visuals and manipulatives is a great strategy for them to better understand and comprehend new concepts.

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