Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Factor trees

I can remember when I was in elementary school, that the use of something as simple as a factor tree really helped me out. Factor trees really help show the relationship between numbers. Writing out factor trees can help a student visualize prime and composite numbers. I like the analogy of the factor tree as being the fingerprint of a composite number. I feel that analogies are also a good way to express a concept to a student who may be struggling with grasping it. To me factor trees are simple and they are a visual means for students to understand composite and prime numbers and their relationship. I am glad that factor trees are still being used in today's every changing curriculum to help students understand these relationships. While I applaud many of the new constructivist ideals to relay information to students in the world of mathematics, I also have some skepticism. There are some methods such as the lattice method that I find more cumbersome and frustrating than helpful. Sometimes less is more and I feel that the simplicity of the factor tree is a very effective and creative way to help students with this area of math.

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