Video: Using Equal Groups to Understand Multiplication by Zero

When we multiply, we can think about equal groups of dots. 4 groups of 2 dots = 8 dots, 4 × 2 = 8. How many dots would there be if you drew 0 groups with 8 dots in each group? Find the missing number: 0 × 8 = _.

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Video Transcript

When we multiply, we can think about equal groups of dots. Four groups of two dots equals eight dots. Four times two equals eight. How many dots would there be if you drew zero groups with eight dots in each group? Find the missing number, zero times eight equals what?

One way of helping us understand multiplication is to think about equal groups of something. And in this question, we’re asked to think about equal groups of dots. To help us understand this, we’re shown an example. And, we can see that we’ve got four groups, and each group is equal. They’re all the same size. They all contain the same number of dots, which is two dots.

So, we have four groups of two dots. And as we’ve said already, this is a way of showing a multiplication. Four times two or four lots of two. We know the answer is going to be eight dots because we’re told it in the example. But, Let’s see where we get the number eight from. Let’s count in twos. Two, four, six, eight. There are eight dots altogether. Four times two equals eight.

Now, let’s apply what we’ve learned. How many dots would there be if you drew zero groups with eight dots in each group? Perhaps the best way to think about the answer to this question is to actually draw it. Let’s draw our answer in this space here. We’re going to draw zero groups of eight dots. There we go. Finished. There are no groups of eight dots. You might say to yourself, I can’t see any dots. Well, of course we can’t see any dots because we’ve been told to draw zero groups, no groups at all. Zero groups of eight dots is zero dots. As we’ve said already, we can use our knowledge of groups of dots to help us learn multiplication facts.

Let’s find the missing number. Zero groups of eight dots equals zero dots. So, zero times eight or zero lots of eight equals zero. If you have no lots of eight, you have nothing at all. If we draw zero groups with eight dots in each group, we have zero dots. And, the reason for this is because zero times eight equals zero. If you have time, why not try drawing other multiplications like this? Try drawing zero groups with six dots in each group or even with 56 dots in each group. It shouldn’t take you too long. And, you won’t even need a pen and paper. Any number multiplied by zero equals zero.

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