The Array - Go Figure

Arrays for multiplication

You can find arrays everywhere you look. In the supermarket you will find cartons of eggs. They often have 2 rows of 3 eggs or 2 rows of 6 eggs. Can you think of any other arrays you might find?

Picture of a practical example of an array - an egg cartoon with 2 rows of 6 eggs

Imagine you have a carton that has 2 rows of 6 eggs. How many eggs do you have in total? How did you work this out? Did you count, or add, or multiply?

Picture of an array, with 2 rows and 6 columns

One way to work out the number of eggs is to add up each row, for example, 6 + 6. Another way is by multiplying the rows by the columns. In the case of this 2 by 6 array, you can find the total by multiplying 2 x 6.

Did you get 12 for your answer?

What happens if you turn the array onto its side?

Picture of an array, with 6 rows and 2 columns

You now have an array with 6 rows and 2 columns. How many eggs do you have this time?

Did you notice that if you switch around the two numbers you are multiplying, you get the same answer?
Multiplying 2 by 6 gives us 12, 2 x 6 = 12.
Multiplying 6 by 2 gives us 12, 6 x 2 = 12.
You have just doubled your knowledge of multiplication facts!

If I had a tray of eggs, which holds 4 rows of 6 eggs, how many eggs would I have in total?

Did you get an answer of 24?

Now, what if I turned the tray around and had 6 rows of 4 eggs?
Can you work out the answer?
This time it's 6 x 4, which gives us the same answer of 24.