Array Models for Multiplication

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

For multiplication facts to make sense to children, they have to have lots of concrete and representational experiences with the idea of multiplication prior to trying to achieve automaticity with the facts. Students need to move from addition to multiplicative thinking to understand the difference between 4 + 3 and 4 x 3.

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This little activity is another one from Van de Walle. Students use a 10-by-10 array and an L-shaped overlay to help them visualize the meaning of multiplication. There are two ways to use the board:

  1. Call out a fact, for example 4 x 4, and have students use the overlay to show the fact and determine the product.
  2. Give the students a product and have them use the overlay to show you how it could be made. For example, if you ask students to show you 16 apples, they might use the overlay to show 4 x 4, 2 x 8, or 8 x 2.

arrays multiplication

The freebie includes a B & W version, a color one, and a template for the overlay.

21 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I definitely need to share this with my son’s 2nd grade teacher.
    Thanks yet again!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  2. Fontenot's Firebreathers

    This is fantastic! We are beginning the year in multiplication with arrays! This is awesome! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re welcome! I thought the apples added a nice back-to-school touch. Ha ha.

      Reply
  3. jdargon

    Thanks! This is my first year as a Math Coach! I need all the help I can get. This is very helpful!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Congrats on your new position! You will love it. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing! The third grade tecahers will love this!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Pretty simple idea, but really visual and powerful!

      Reply
  5. Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

    This is absolutely perfect for my son and I will be using this tomorrow morning during our math lessons. As someone who is not fond of math your site always gives me that “spark” to add some fun into our lessons. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      What a wonderful comment! Thanks so much. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Kinderaffe

    What a practical idea! I love blog yesterday about using multiplication with division. So smart!

    Thank you!

    Sara

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Van de Walle has such amazing ideas! I love having time in the summer to revisit his book.

      Reply
  7. Mme Figaro

    Great blog ! It will take me weeks to explore ! Thanks !

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure! I really enjoyed visiting your blog and seeing this activity in French!

      Reply
  8. Holly Grove

    Great, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re welcome, Holly! Glad you find it useful. 🙂

      Reply
    • Myra Stoudt

      Thanks, Donna. I teach third grade and am looking for a bit more for my array arsenol (LOL). How to download this though? Can’t find it as a freebie on your TPT site. Did I miss it? Thank you for sharing. LOVE Math Coaches. We lost ours a few years ago (budget cuts! Ugh) Sure miss the collaboration!
      Myra

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Hey, Myra! Click on the word “freebie” in the paragraph above the picture. It’s underlined now so it shows up better. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Sandy

    Thank you! You are my “go to” blog. I was just getting ready to head to my Van de Walle book and then saw this! Just what I was looking for!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment! I love connecting with educators!

      Reply

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