What Is a Partial Product in Fourth Grade Math?

Students raising hands in math class.
••• Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images

In recent years, fourth-grade curricula have begun to expand on traditional methods of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to give students a wide range of techniques. One such technique is the partial product method used for multiplication.

Finding Partial Products

The partial product method involves multiplying each digit of a number in turn with each digit of another where each digit maintains its place. (So, the 2 in 23 would actually be 20.) For instance, 23 x 42 would become (20 x 40) + (20 x 2) + (3 x 40) + (3 x 2).

Adding Partial Products

You add partial products together to get a final answer for the multiplication problem. For instance, 800 + 40 + 120 + 6 would give you a total product of 966.

Benefits

Using the partial product method in fourth grade lets students visualize the manipulation of factors which helps them prepare for learning algebraic properties. Furthermore, it gives them a method that is easier to do in their head because partial sums usually end in zeros or are single-digit numbers.

Disadvantages

In some cases, the partial products method saves students time in comparison with the traditional method, but in others it does not. It takes practice to figure out when to use which. Furthermore, when pencil and paper are available, the traditional method is usually faster.

Related Articles

Methods of Teaching Mathematics in Primary School
The Foil Method With Fractions
How to Solve Operations Puzzles
How to Factor Polynomials With Fractions
Research-Based Strategies for Teaching Multiplication...
Pros & Cons of Methods for Quadratic Equations
How to Solve Inequalities With Fractions
Computation Methods for Fifth Grade Math
Pros & Cons in Methods of Solving Systems of Equations
Characteristics of Aquatic Plants
How to Solve Equations for the Indicated Variable
How to Square a Fraction With a Variable
How to Differentiate in Math
Three Methods of Estimating Math Problems
How to Find Equations of Tangent Lines
How to Convert Cubic Feet per Second to Gallons per...
How to Break Apart Numbers You Are Subtracting
How to Factor Negative Numbers
What Are the Fundamental Differences & Similarities...
How to Find the Area of a Rectangular Prism

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!