Muffins and pies
Introducing multiplication with a context that leads itself to arrays
- Introducing multiplication with a context that leads itself to arrays
- white/black board
- chalk/ non-permanent markers
How to play:
- Start by a simple contexts that can be described and talked about and then represented by a multiplication sentence.
- Rather than starting from what learners do not know (what ‘4 x 5’ means) we begin with something they are familiar with and help them move to the symbolic. Take, for example, this context problem: A baker is putting muffins on a tray to put in the oven. A tray holds four rows of five muffins. How many muffins can the baker put onto a full tray?
- This context lends itself nicely to learners modelling it as a four by five array, either with physical objects or drawings. The discussion would then be around how many muffins there are altogether and whether or not anyone had a quick way to find the total that did not involve counting each muffin singly. Taking the leaner’s explanations can lead to introducing the notation of multiplication out of what they saw and did. For example, a child might say that they added five and five and five and five, recorded as 5+5+5+5.
- Another may say that they saw two groups of 10, each arising from pairs of fives. Marking this up on an image, children can see this recorded as: Similarly, other ‘seeings’ might include 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4. From here it is a short step to introducing 4 x 5 or 5 x 4 as a quick way of recording the repeated additions.