I’m always looking for ways to make things hands-on and fun. For this Learning with Your Craft Stash post, I was challenged with an anything goes for this blogpost. I actually found this challenge the hardest because I had a hard time deciding what craft material I wanted to use. Then I saw my bag of googly eyes, and I thought about how my son has been working on multiplication arrays. This would make a perfect reinforcement activity for him.  I also decided it would be fun to offer a freebie with it. 🙂
 
Arrays give children the opportunity to grasp the concepts of what multiplication is all about. I recommend introducing arrays as a mini-lesson during whole group instruction, so they can gain some foundational understanding of why we use multiplication.
 Here is a lesson idea to introduce using arrays to solve multiplication.
First, make an illustration on a dry erase board of the five apples in five groups. Ask the students how they can figure out how many apples there are all together.
Response to the answer counting: “Let’s count. 5,10,15 etc. There are 25 apples all together. That is one way we can figure out the apples, but do you think there is a quicker way to get there?”
Response to the answer adding: “That is a good answer. Let’s add them. 5+5+5+5+5=25. That is one way we can figure out how many apples, but do you think there is a quicker way to get there?” (You may not get an answer for this question. If no answer, introduce it).
Then say: “We can multiply it. Multiplying is a quicker way to add them up. To multiply, we count the number of rows and multiply them by how many are in each row.” (Demonstrate this with the illustration). “We can multiply 5X5=25. Multiplication saves time from having to add everything up. When we are first learning to multiply, we can add up the groups or use skip counting to help us learn our multiplication facts. One day, you will know off the top of your head that 5X5=25, so you will be able to tell quickly how many 5 groups of 5 apples are exactly. Today, we will use addition to figure out how to write the multiplication fact for the the problem using googly eyes!”
If you want, you can explain what an array is into the discussion above, and you might want to mention what rows and columns are also.
Want some more ideas on how to use your craft stash to learn? I have an article here on place value with straws and another one here with learning sight words with scrapbook paper. You can also hop on over to Life Over C’s blog here to see more and find other blogs with similar posts that have linked up.
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