Thursday, October 17, 2013

Batty About Multiplication: The Bats Go Marching Two By Two . . .

This is a great time to complete a bat unit study. Last year, Alyssa was working on multiplication using hands-on activities. One activity that enabled her to learn her times table facts quickly was using objects to make multiplication arrays. Arrays are a visual way for younger children to gain exposure to and a basic understanding of multiplication. You could use any thematic object to do this activity . . . anything will work! However, based on my personal teaching experience, younger children seem to be more interested in learning the concept when using thematic objects. We LOVE purchasing miniature thematic erasers for math work. I wanted to tell you about a lesson we did last year.

First, we read the book Bats on Parade by Kathi Appelt. This is an introductory book that exposes children to the concept of multiplication by emphasizing arrays. The bats in the story march in different array formations.

Then, I gave Alyssa bat manipulatives (table scatter from Target's dollar area). I have used these manipulatives for several activities over the years. We created arrays to model each multiplication problem. The equation was written on a mini white board.

After reading the book, I organized the bats into arrays. Her job was to write the multiplication sentence and then find the product using a variety of strategies such as skip counting, repeated addition, or mental math. We discussed commutative property of multiplication. If you switch or "turn around" the facts, then you will still have the same product. For example, 5x4=20 and 4x5=20. As you can see, she also wrote the repeated addition equation underneath the manipulatives.
Repeated Addition: Adding Groups of 4
Skip Counting by 4's
I gave her plenty of time towards the end of the activity to create her own multiplication word problems using arrays for different equations to solve. She loved quizzing me after finding the product independently.

You can see several other bat activities we've done in the past by clicking on the following links:
T is for Telling Time: Bats Around the Clock
Bat Unit: Anatomy
Bat Echolocation Song
Batty Measurements: Wingspan Comparisons (popular post)

I will link this activity up at Montessori Monday, Math Monday Blog Hop, Share It Saturday, Show-and-Share Saturday Link Up at I Can TeachBlogging Through the Alphabet, Homeschooling on the Cheap, No Time For Flashcards Link and Learn, Hearts for Home Blog Hop, and Titus 2 Tuesday.
Hearts for Home Blog Hop
Blogging Through the AlphabetMontessori Monday
Teach Beside Me

I hope you enjoyed visiting A Learning Journey today. I would love to hear from you. Thanks a bunch!

God bless,


  1. Great entry. Thanks for stopping by Math Monday Blog Hop! How cool that you used to teach with Number Corner!