Hey teacher buddies, I’m sure you can relate to this – You have a lesson plan that you are not sure will go well, you are trying something new, and introducing a new concept. You hope for the best! And it actually worked! This is what recently happened to me.

Arrays are a big part of elementary common core math, starting in 2nd grade.

###### CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.OA.C.4

Use addition to find the total number of objects arranged in rectangular arrays with up to 5 rows and up to 5 columns; write an equation to express the total as a sum of equal addends.

Since I was introducing arrays to my 2-3rd grade class, I decided to use real life photos of arrays, to provide conversation, like how is the best way to count and arrange, etc.

We did really well with pictures like this:

Here is a picture (it’s displayed on my whiteboard with a students shadow in front) that provided a lot of great conversation. The picture is of a block wall next to a door. It was interesting to note the different ways we divided the wall into arrays and I was surprised that some kids thought we would actually get a different answer. So that led to more discussion.

I had about 70 pictures, so I dividing them up amongst groups of 2-3 and they discussed how to total them and wrote different expressions for each one. Then they displayed the expressions with the pictures and we did a museum walk (where we quietly walked around). It went so smoothly! Now students see arrays everywhere. I find that using real life examples helps make the conversations real and concrete, especially for young math minds. They could actually see an array.

I have compiled all the photos if you want to purchase them.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts!

– Evil Math Wizard