Here are two photos I snapped as I walked by a 99 cent store in LA. Beautiful arrays, no?

I am thinking about how to use these kinds of images as the anchors for number strings, particularly for intervention work with older students. Sometimes older kids need work thinking about multiplication, but in an age-appropriate way. What kind of questions do you think of with this image? One could most simply begin by asking what kids noticed about the image. That would bring most of the interesting mathematics forward, I think. Beginning perhaps with how many boxes of hot chocolate do you see (nice numbers)? And then, considering this is a 99 cent store, how much would it cost to buy all of this chocolate. It reminds me of some work that Pamela Harris suggests in her book on Powerful Numeracy, in which she asks kids what is 99 plus any number? A 99 cent store is a great way to think about what is 99 times any number?

And then what about this image? Should it come before? After? Is there a sequence here? What does that bottom row of Top Ramen suggest? To me, it gives a opening to talk about the distributive property- oh, one more row?

I am a faculty member at the University of California Santa Barbara, and a former teacher. My interests are at the intersections of mathematics education, disability studies in education, and social justice.
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