Distributive Property

Contributor: Briana Pincherri. Lesson ID: 11222

What do you do when you see a number outside a pair of parentheses in a math problem? Are you paralyzed? Be prepared to solve math problems involving parentheses with this video and online practice!


Pre-Algebra, Rules and Properties

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Have you ever seen a number smack dab up against a parenthesis in a math problem like this: 3(2 + 4)?
  • What does that mean?
  • Does it mean the person who made it just forgot to put a space in the problem, or maybe a symbol is missing?

Believe it or not, it is intentional to leave that number right against the parenthesis so the distributive property can be used.

This lesson focuses on what the distributive property is and how to use it, so next time you see a problem like this, you know exactly what to do!

The distributive property of multiplication is used to multiply a single number directly outside of parentheses, times each of the terms inside of the parentheses.

Here's an example:

example problem

This video, The Distributive Property In Arithmetic by Math Antics, explains it a little more in detail::


As you saw in the video, being able to correctly distribute a number in math is a very important skill to have.

The distributive property is found throughout mathematics. Moving into higher level math, you are sure to see it often.

Let's get started with a bit of practice to see if all this is adding up!

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