It's an array of mini-marshmallows...disappointed a couple of my Multi-agers at first when they thought they were just going to get a stack of these little white sugar 3d shapes to devour...but they changed their opinions when they began making arrays with them!
Questions posed-how can you use the marshmallows to show me 3*5 and would that look different than 5*3? Why? How can I determine if the answer is going to be odd or even? How would I write my array as an addition number sentence? Why? A few of my students asked me- Will there be 3 in each group? How many will I need? As they peered next door at their learning buddies, they began to get ideas of what their marshmallows should look like. They began to understand they needed rows and columns (we had a few prior lessons on "multiplication" before this activity. I was delighted with their understandings and conclusions as they lined up their rows and decided that their picture for 3 *5 and 5*3 would like different but one would get the same answer- BRAVO!!! They discussed why they would have to line them up and get their marshmallow all in order-KUDDOS! Now, to further help them analyze their arrays to help them learn quickly before they skip count or count their marshmallows whether their answer should be even or odd...that was a little STICKY!!