To be completely honest, I used to dread it. Teaching multiplying mixed numbers by mixed numbers could become messy business. The steps were numerous, and one little mistake guarantees that the problem will be wrong. That all changed when I learned how to model multiplying mixed number by mixed numbers. This abstract concept now made sense to me, and I could help my children visualize it too. This once tedious process, became fun as we drew out our problems and had a way to check our answers. Hopefully this post will help you learn how to teach it, as well as give you an easy multiplying fractions activity to make practice fun!
*Please Note: This post contains affiliate links which help support the work of this site. Read our full disclosure policy here.*
Multiplying Mixed Numbers by Mixed Numbers Using Arrays
What exactly is an array?
According to NRICH enriching mathematics, “an array is formed by arranging a set of objects into rows and columns” and can be useful in teaching multiplication.
Arrays can be used to help students visualize 3 x 5, 1/2 x 1/3, and even 1 1/2 x 2 1/4!
You may be thinking, I know how to draw an array that shows 3 x 5, but adding fractions to arrays makes it a little more confusing. I completely agree!
Learn Zillion is an excellent place to start. They provide short videos that direct you on how to create arrays step by step.
Then grab a free interactive notebook activity to provide your children a step by step resource as they create their own models.
Now it is time for some fun, and puzzles!
Easy Multiplying Fractions Activity: Puzzle Pieces
This freebie includes 10 different puzzles. The top part of the puzzle contains the answer, while the bottom left part provides the expression. In an effort to provide more visual instruction, the bottom right is comprised of arrays.
If your children are not very familiar with arrays, you may want to start with this FREE game. It will help them understand how arrays are built, and how to figure out the dimensions of them. Even if they have been enlightened regarding arrays, it may be helpful to remind them that the first square in the array equals one whole!!
Also provided, is a record sheet. This sheet has three columns. There is a place to write the expression, draw a model, and record the answer.
- Print off the puzzles on card stock.
- Cut out each puzzle piece
- Laminate them so they can be used over and over. This also allows children to draw on the array to help them figure out the expression it represents.
How to Use the Multiplying Mixed Numbers Puzzles:
Though the options are endless, here are a few ideas on how you can use these puzzles in a classroom setting.
A Math Center:
Simply place the puzzle pieces in a center and let the children put them together as you work with other children. This is also a great activity for a child to do while you work with your other kiddo during homeschool math.
Most children love a little competition, so this activity is alway a fun one. Divide your class into equal groups, and then put a complete set of puzzle pieces in each group. The first group that is able to put all 10 puzzles together correctly wins.
Get Up and Move Activity:
All children need to get up out of their seats and move, and this one will get the moving. Pass out one piece of the puzzle to each child in your class. Have them get up and find the two other people who can help them complete the puzzle.
As a Grade:
Grades are a necessary part of teaching, but you can still make getting a grade fun. Provide the record sheet with the puzzles, and presto, you have a grade for your grade book!
Just because a certain concept requires a lot of steps to solve, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Enjoy making math a little more fun with these puzzle pieces.
You’ve Got This!
Need more help? Try this fun project based learning activity:
Let’s Build A Rink – Fun project creating an ice skating rink and finding its area and perimeter using mixed numbers
Never Run Out of Fun Math Ideas
If you enjoyed this post, you will love being apart of the Math Geek Mama community! Each week I share fun and engaging math ideas, free resources and special offers. Join us as we help every child succeed and thrive in math!