In previous grades, students have been multiplying positive rational numbers, which include integers, fractions, and terminating decimals. In this activity, they extend their understanding to positive and negative rational numbers.
Multiplication of rational numbers opens with something that may be familiar to students; that is, multiplication patterns that lead to the rules for multiplying signed numbers. But over the next pages, explorations using properties of operations lead them to products that really demonstrate the rules for signed numbers. This will be new for most students, and just may present an aha moment. Not only do they come to better understand the rules, but they will also understand different ways to proceed when applying the rules.
Later in the activity, students have an opportunity to test out their rational number multiplication skills before they are faced with real world situations where they must interpret the product of rational numbers. This way they really get to see these rational numbers in action!