Do you use the ladder method in middle school or elementary math, to find GCF, LCM, or for any other math concepts?
If you haven't had the chance to use the ladder method (or the upside down birthday cake method, as some call it), I highly recommend it.
Uses of the Ladder Method
As you can see in the anchor chart, math students can use the ladder method to find greatest common factor (GCF), least common multiple (LCM), for factoring, reducing fractions, finding prime factorization, and for finding the least common denominator (not pictured)! So many uses! And what I really like about this method is that the process is the same for each use; the outside numbers are just used differently. I like the fact that the continued use of the ladder method (for various concepts) leads students to make greater connections between numbers.....and finding factors seems to come more easily.
Benefits of Using the Ladder Method
In addition to helping math students find GCF and LCM, using the ladder method helps students see the relationships between numbers a little more clearly. It's very easy to see what factors different numbers have in common and how those factors 'contribute' to the LCM or GCF. When I used the ladder method for factoring, students picked up the factoring concept MUCH more quickly than when I hadn't used it. The short video below demonstrates how to factor a simple expression.
Ladder Method Resources
A while back, I wrote a guest post about the ladder method on Rachel Lynette's blog, so if you're interested in reading more, check it out here. I shared a ladder method fold-it-up in my guest post, but you can also click on the image here, if you'd like to download it.
I've also created a fun Doodle Notes page to help students with the Ladder Method!
Click on the image, to see it on TPT.
If you haven't used the ladder method before, I hope you'll give it a try! If you have, I'm sure you understand why I love it:-)
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Hi, I'm Ellie! My mission here is to support teachers as they work to provide engaging, meaningful experiences for their students. I've been in education for 25 years, teaching all subject areas at both the elementary and middle school levels, and am here to share what I've learned through those years, as well as what I continue to learn. I hope you'll find some ideas or resources here to help you out!