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Learning Multiplication with Arrays!

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Do you teach multiplication using arrays? Multiplication has always been a weakness of mine (something my family LOVES to tease me about) but I am bound and determined to make sure my thirds have a SOLID foundation of multiplication! One way we are building that foundation is by using arrays!
building an array using manipulative
Today, we spent the day building and re-building arrays using manipulatives. Tomorrow, we’ll move to stickers and then eventually to just drawing the array.  But, for today, we were all about the concrete!
To begin the lesson, I presented a word problem to my students. Then, we discussed the expression we could use to solve the problem. I showed them how to write the equation and place it into the “array frame”. We discussed how the array can help show the ratio between the two factors as well as an easy way to find a product.
model of an array
Yeah… those are STUCK to my board! Want to make modeling using manipulatives a breeze? Here’s a genius tip!
tip for math manipulatives
Seriously folks… END.LESS!

Anywho, after modeling a few different arrays, it was time to get our hands (or desks) dirty and try them for ourselves. As a class we worked through several problems right on our desk using dry erase markers… Here’s a few snap shots of how the kiddos used an array to find the product for the expression, 3 x 4…

I loved how they showed their thinking!

manipulative for teaching arrays
 Add up each row…
example of using array to teach multiplication
Skip counting…
As an “exit ticket”, I gave them an empty array for 3 x 3, and had the kiddos draw out the array and the expression…
array frame
 Here’s a few different ways we found the product for 3 x 3…
strategy for using an array to solve multiplication
 repeated addition…
example of an array within an array
 Grouping (or finding arrays within an array)
Once students got my stamp of approval, they were free to “exit” the guided portion of my lesson and move on to creating arrays with their shoulder partners using these multi-sided dice…

(You can check those out here!)

Those multi-sided dice made differentiated our partner practice a breeze! My kiddos that were still working on using arrays were given dice with only 7 or 8 sides. The kiddos that were already starting to see arrays with in arrays and had a strong handle on multiplication were given up to 12 sided die.

Here’s a shot of an array one of my mathmaticians made using the 12 sided dice.

Look at that math on the side there!

Here’s a pair of students TRYING to use an array to solve 9 x 9…

Look at that addition over there! Don’t worry! Eventually, they found that they could split their array into 5 x 9 and 4 x 9 to get 81! I can’t wait to continue our array practice tomorrow with stickers! I’d love to hear your favorite way to teach multiplication! Comment below!

You can grab MORE array activities in my  “Rays of Arrays” unit. This unit also includes two weeks worth of lesson plans AND a teaching presentation!

helping your students better understand arrays with this activity pack!

Looking for how I introduced arrays in second grade? Check out this post!


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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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