3.OA.A.1

Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each. *For example, describe a context in which a total number of objects can be expressed as 5 × 7.*

Students will use counters and paper plates to solve multiplication problems, which they will view as repeated addition. An excellent demonstration can be found here. Students will also use equal group pictures, for example, a picture of three cookies, each having five chocolate chips, to represent multiplication problems. That is, give the multiplication expression for a given picture, in this case 3 * 5 or 5 * 3. Students will also use arrays to solve missing number problems. For example, 4 * __ = 12:

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As a challenge, show students the bracelet patterns on this page, particularly, the two based on regular polygons having multiple layers. Ask your students how they could efficiently count the number of beads. They should realize that each figure can be broken into equal groups, based on the symmetries of the bracelet pattern. After counting how many in each group, they can multiply to find the answer. They needn't know about regular polygons to be able to do this.