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how do you explain prime factors to a primary school child?

(6 Posts)
workshy Tue 17-Apr-12 21:17:28

she gets it if it's obvious

eg 15=3x5

but if it's not made up of prime numbers she doesn't get it

any help?

Tue 17-Apr-12 21:20:33

A prime number is just a number that is not divisible by anything other than 1 and itself isn't it???

snowball3 Tue 17-Apr-12 21:26:44

We make a factor tree, hard to show on here but
24 is made from say 2x12
2 is a prime factor, so that's the end of that branch
12 is made from say 2x6
2 is a prime factor so that's the end of that branch
both are prime so that's the end of all branches
so we have
2x2x2x3
which is
2 cubed x3
( It's much easier when you draw it!)

YouChangeWithTheWeather Tue 17-Apr-12 21:27:02

There's two books on Amazon called Mrs J Rocks' and 'Mrs J Rules` - I can't remember which is literacy and which is numeracy, but they explain things very simply.

snowball3 Tue 17-Apr-12 21:27:37

PS it doesn't matter whether you start with 2x12 or 4x6 or 3x8, you will always end up with the same prime factors

workshy Tue 17-Apr-12 22:32:58

thanks snowball3
I've seen the trees but she isn't usually very visual so didn't know if she would get them

I'll give it a go with her tomorrow

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