“…believe it can be taught to a class in an hour…”

What you’d be teaching then, James, is a procedure. Not a deep understanding of multiplication and how it works. You’re right that the standard algorithm works consistently, but it is often not the most efficient strategy for someone who has a deep understanding of things like the associative and distributive property…extremely powerful properties that allow you to manipulate numbers flexibly and efficiently.

Try to be open to new ways of learning. Don’t assume that because something is confusing to you, it’s junk. Schools taught the algorithm exclusively when fathers like me and grandfathers like you were in school to effectively create human “computers” or “calculators”. Mathematical literacy is far beyond that in the 21st century, we want kids to understand relationships between numbers and use the computations they make to do much deeper thinking.

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