What do you see?
Students can visualise a multiplicative situation by looking at the structure of a rectangular array.
Show a rectangular array (e.g. 6 \(\times\) 4) for three seconds on an interactive whiteboard, small magnetic whiteboard or an overhead projector.
Ask students to close their eyes and picture the array, then make it using square tiles or counters. You can watch the Array Flash video.
You can download the Array Flash video transcript.
Note how students constructed the array. Did they construct it line by line or the first row and first column?
You can view and download the Visualising an Array slide presentation.
Students share what they saw and the number of counters or tiles in the complete array.
Draw out the language: rows, columns, arrays.
Ask students to suggest where they might see arrays in real life (e.g. chocolate bars, egg cartons, wall tiles).
Students then work in groups of four and take turns to make an array while others cover their eyes. Once the array is made, the others open their eyes and look at the array for three seconds. The maker then hides the array and the others make what they saw.
This task can be repeated several times, with students taking turns to construct the array and draw the array.