Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


My 3rd grader has been given a problem about mathematical arrays.

Name two smaller arrays you can use to find the product.

7 x 6= ____

Obviously 7 x 6; 6 x 7 and 1 x 42; 42 x 1 and 2 x 21; 21 x 2 and 3 x 14; 14 x 3 are our choices, but I’m not really understanding what the question is asking.

As my son said, “If we use 3 and 14, one of the numbers is smaller and one is larger." So

Are we supposed to divide the problem into 2 separate arrays such as 2 (3x7) arrays to make 2 smaller arrays?

I'm confused. Of course I have no textbook to resource.


Hi Charla,

As a former grade 3 teacher, I would have taught the students to break this up into 2 smaller multiplications or arrays.

7 x 6 is the same as
7 x 3 plus 7 x 3

It's easier for kids to remember 3 x 7 than 6 x 7.

We are always trying to break big numbers and operations into smaller ones which are then easier to solve.

Good luck,


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