Video: Solving Multiplication Word Problem in Situations Involving Arrays

The flowers in a garden are in 3 rows and 7 columns. How many flowers are in the garden?

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Video Transcript

The flowers in a garden are in three rows and seven columns. How many flowers are in the garden?

Let’s start by highlighting the important information that we can see in this problem. Now, we’re given a description of how a group of flowers is arranged. We’re told that it’s laid out in three rows and seven columns. And the question then goes on to ask us how many flowers are there in the garden. Can you visualize the shape that the flowers will make if they’re set out in rows and columns?

When a number can be arranged in equal rows and columns, it usually makes it a rectangle, sometimes a square, and we call it an array. And arrays are really useful ways to represent multiplication facts visually and to help us understand them and to help us solve problems like this. Let’s sketch the array in the question using the information that we’ve been given.

So the flowers are in three rows. So there are three rows. But how many flowers are in each row? What we’re also told, that there are seven columns. And this means that we know that there must be seven flowers in each row. Let’s draw the seven columns to show this. So there are our seven columns. So we can see that we have three lots of seven. Or, if we said it a different way, there are seven lots of three. So how can we use our array to find the total amount?

Well, as we’ve seen, we can think of the array in two different ways. Firstly, as seven lots of three. So we can think of that as the multiple addition: three plus three plus three plus three plus three plus three plus three. That’s adding three seven times. Or, we can simply write it as a multiplication, seven multiplied by three. The second way to think of our array is as three lots of seven, three rows of seven. And again, we can write this as a multiple addition: seven plus seven plus seven. Or, we can simply use a multiplication fact, three multiplied by seven.

All of these four calculations give us the same answer. Let’s use the final one to find out the total. We’ll count in sevens three times. One times seven is seven. Two times seven is 14. And three times seven is 21. And so, by drawing the array of three rows and seven columns, it really helped us to visualize the total and to find the answer quickly. And so, there are 21 flowers in the garden.

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