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Video: Understanding the Commutative Property of Addition in Word Problems

Kathryn Kingham

A teacher used dominoes to teach addition to a group of children. When he picked the domino piece with 4 dots on one end and 6 dots on the other, some of the children read it as “4 plus 6 equals 10”, while others read it as “6 plus 4 equals 10”. State the real number property demonstrated by the children’s answers.

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Video Transcript

A teacher use dominoes to teach addition to a group of children. When he picked the domino piece with four dots on one end and six dots on the other end, some of the children read it is four plus six equals 10, while others read it as six plus four equals 10. State the real number property demonstrated by the children’s answers.

Some of the kids thought four plus six equals 10 and others thought that it represented six plus four equals 10. But we wanna know what property says that this is true, that four plus six equals six plus four. The property would say that 𝑎 plus 𝑏 equals 𝑏 plus 𝑎. It’s the commutative property of addition. One way to remember the commutative property of addition is to think about the word commute. Cars commute back and forth. And in the commutative property, the order of the operands does not change the result. The order in which we add things together does not change the result. When working with the dominoes, the children were demonstrating commutative property of addition.