The number of coloured squares is what times what?
Of course, one way to find the number of coloured squares is simply to count them one by one. But we’re asked to think about them as a multiplication. We need to give the answer as what times what. Now we can see that the squares have been coloured in so that they make two rectangles at the moment. The first rectangle contains four columns. And each column only has one square in it. So we can think of this top rectangle as representing four times one. The lower rectangle also has four columns. This time, they contain seven squares in each. So we can think of this lower rectangle as representing four times seven or four lots of seven.
So we have two multiplications that represent the number of coloured squares. But we’re only supposed to give an answer that’s one multiplication. What can we do about this? Well, we can imagine that we move this top rectangle down one row. And that will enable us to think of the whole amount of squares as one large rectangle. It would still have four columns. But the number in each column would be worth one plus seven, or in other words eight. There are four columns, and there are eight coloured squares in each column. The number of coloured squares is four times eight.