3rd Grade – Arrays:  The foundation for multiplication

A walk through the grocery store provides lots of opportunity for parents to help growing mathematicians understand multiplication.  With the common core math standards, the use of arrays (grids of columns and rows) to represent multiplication is fundamental.  Gone are the days where we memorized our math facts, Common Core expects students to understand why 3 x 5 = 15, not just remember it!

Consider practicing basic math facts as you approach the canned food section and have your child count the rows and columns of the arrangement of cans.  Use this opportunity to explain that the array created can provide information as to the total of cans (without counting each one) by multiplying the number of rows and number of columns.  Your child has probably been exposed to ‘arrays’ as they are learning the concepts of multiplication.  So, don’t fear, they will know what you are talking about when you say ‘array’, even if you would have never used the term.


As you continue down the aisle, have your child count the number of items in the ‘rows’ and ‘columns’ and predict the number in the section.  Start small!  What is important is that the child sees that ‘math’ is something that they will use outside the classroom.  It is not just an exercise for school.  Make it real!  Learning is not in books, Learning is in experiences!


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