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Array Models for Multiplication

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.

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

  2. 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!

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

    Thank you!


    1. 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!

    2. Hey, Myra! Click on the word “freebie” in the paragraph above the picture. It’s underlined now so it shows up better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 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!

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