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# Teaching Inverse Operations to Challenging Learners

When I know that I have to introduce a skill or concept that will be difficult for my students to understand I follow these steps:

1. Connect a previous lesson to the new skill or front load my instruction with the foundation skill
2. Teach the new skill from simple to complex (begin with conceptual then move to the abstract)
3. Use a think aloud to explain my thought process
4. Look for patterns in the process that will support acquisition of the new skill

I often see the fact family concept taught to students in 1st and 2nd grade with the numbers, but I sometimes wonder how the teacher introduced the concept to their students. Fact families are an example of inverse operations on a simpler level. The facts 2+3=5 and 5-3=2 are inverses of each other because the student has to put 2 parts plus 3 parts to equal 5 parts and in the subtraction fact a student would have to begin with the total (which is the opposite) and then subtract 3 parts. Teaching the inverse operation concept to struggling learners can be a challenge for any teacher, but if you remember to begin with a picture it will make your life much easier! If you are in need of a lesson to teach multiplication and division inverses I have a complete lesson plan in my store.

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