Building Arrays in Nature

When learning about multiplication you have to understand the concept of equal groups. When you have equal groups it has the same number of items as all of the other groups. In order for the students to understand what I meant, I had the students arrange themselves into equal groups. However, they could only have 2 people in a group. The students quickly realized there would be 5 groups of 2 because of the total number of students in class (10 in all). Next, I had them put the groups of 2 into columns and rows and asked the dimensions of their array and most of them said “It’s a 5 by 2!” or “It’s a 2 by 5!” I then took time to show them the difference on how the arrays look. We all went into the woods and I asked them to collect natural objects (all the same) to build an array just like we did with ourselves. I didn’t tell them any specific instructions on how many items to get or even how to build the array based on the number of items they chose. In the end, they were able to explain to me about how they arranged their items into equal groups and why they chose to build that particular array. It was amazing to see how many different arrays the students came up with after collecting their natural objects.
Alyssa Crews Meroby Elementary School, Grade 3

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