Prime & Composite Number Activities

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In order to help students understand what prime numbers and composite numbers are, it's useful to use number tables. Find out how to use math Jeopardy as a way to teach prime and composite numbers with help from a math teacher in this free video on math help and prime numbers.

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So what are some prime number and composite number activities that you might be able to do? Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang, and I've been teaching college mathematics for over nine years, and here are some ideas as to what you can do to help students understand what prime numbers and composite numbers are. Now, remember, just as a quick recap, prime numbers are those positive whole numbers -- integers, as we like to call them -- whose only factors are one and itself, and composite numbers are those numbers who have more factors than one and itself. So here's a...some ideas as to how you can get some prime and composite number activities. Now, one basic idea that you can definitely think about is use a number table from one to 100 -- just, you know, have all the...list all the numbers from one to 100, and then just ask the students if each number given is prime or composite or neither. Now, some prime numbers, of course, two, three, five, and seven. Some composite numbers would be four, eight, twelve, et cetera. But basically, the first 100 numbers is a...provide a good foundation for understanding prime and composite numbers. If you like, you can put random numbers into a...kind of like a math jeopardy category. If you have a prime and composite number category, just give a number, like, for example, 36, and the proper answer would be...the question, if you will, will be what is composite? And then you could repeat that with the other clues, if you like. So using math jeopardy will be a good idea to figure out...determine prime and composite numbers. And lastly, you can also think about a factor tree game. So for example, if you have any number you want, have them build a tree, and if they find that they only end with two branches, then the number that they have is a prime number. So like, for example, if you have the number 11, the only branches from 11 are one and 11, so the tree ends. And so they'll know that number is an example of a prime number. But if you have a number like 12, where you have two times six, for example, see, that six can be broken down further into two times three. So you have an example of number 12 as being a composite number. You can do a factor tree with any number and, again, as long as it ends at two branches -- only two branches -- it's that of a prime number. Other than that, it's a composite number. So I'm Jimmy Chang, and there are some examples of prime and composite number activities.

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