We hear and use the term ARRAY often in a Math class. If I ask a student what is an array? There is a moment of pause, the tilt of a head, eyes squinting, looking up and down and anywhere there might a hint around the classroom.
It’s like that box thingy, right?
Length times width?
It’s the thing with the thing?
Yes, it’s a box. It is also length times width, and in its broadest sense it’s the thing with the thing.
An array is often used to help with multiplication and division. It’s a series of rows and columns that when you multiply the number of rows by the number of columns you will arrive at how many items are inside. With division it can be used by taken the number of items inside and divided it by the number of rows (or columns) to find the quotient.
In class we use arrays when given 2 factors, which makes it seem as if arrays only appear when the book or your teacher announces the dimensions (length x width). Arrays are everywhere, and they are fun to work with.
Yesterday on my hike, as I was thinking about arrays, I decided to collect pieces of nature on the ground and make arrays with them:
I stated by collecting twigs of the same size. When I found a clearing, off the trail, I laid them out to find that I had an array of 3 by 9, or 3 x 9 = 27 twigs.
Acorns were next: 4 x 4 = 16.
Dried Eucalyptus leaves, 3 x 6 = 18
You don’t need to head out to the trail to find arrays, you can build them indoors with markers or colored pencils. You can build them with bottle caps or nectarines in your fruit bowl. You can build them with blades of grass from your lawn or folded ninja stars.
ASSIGNMENT: You can take pictures of your work, or you can go straight to your notebook and draw arrays using different symbols, like stars, or circles, of happy faces. Try to find 10 different arrays around your home and/or in nature.
Feel free to take picture of your work, and send them my way!