Chocolate Arrays

Lately, I’ve been seeing arrays everywhere I go: at the grocery store, at the pharmacy, at the farmers’ market. And, of course, at Costco. The big, bad bulk retailer is bursting with interesting items arranged in perfect columns and rows.

Naturally, I made a beeline for the chocolate.

What follows is a quick-image string for exploring the associative property, the patterns that occur when multiplying, and the relationship between columns and rows. It supports the development of some key strategies for multiplying: doubling and halving to maintain equivalence, doubling a dimension to double to product, and using partial products to solve.

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Encouraging Strings Discussions

Defining the Problem:

In a recent workshop, a third grade teacher shared the following: “I think I’m doing it right, I ask a lot of questions like, ‘How did you solve?’ and ‘Can you explain your strategy?’ or ‘What do you think about _______’s approach?’ But the kids often just stare at me blankly. Only a handful will jump into the conversation. What am I doing wrong?”

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