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Video: Understanding the Commutative Property of Multiplication in Word Problems

Kathryn Kingham

Halle noticed that for the shown rectangle, she could either multiply 6 by 7 or 7 by 6 to get its area, which is 42 square inches. Identify the property which allows her to do this.

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Video Transcript

Halle noticed that for the shown rectangle, she could either multiply six by seven or seven by six to find the area, which is forty-two inches squared. Identify the property which allows her to do that.

We are looking for a property. First, we know that it’s a property that deals with multiplication. Property of multiplication is the identity property of multiplication; this is the property that says if you multiply a number by one, the result is the original number.

The identity property will not help us do what Halle did here. It would be the associative property of multiplication. The associative property looks like this and it deals with multiplying three values and how we group them. The associative property does not apply here because we’re only working with two values.

The commutative property of multiplication is the property that allows us to multiply six by seven or seven by six to find that the area of this rectangle is forty-two inches squared. The commutative property states that two numbers can be multiplied in either order; in our case, six times seven equals seven times six.