*Contributor: Ashley Nail. Lesson ID: 13052*

Wow! That's a lot of big words, but commutative property is actually really easy! You switch two numbers around and the answer stays the same! Learn to use the commutative property while multiplying.

categories

subject

Math

learning style

Kinesthetic, Visual

personality style

Lion, Otter

Grade Level

Intermediate (3-5)

Lesson Type

Quick Query

Imagine you and your best friend sit down to lunch. On the table, you have 2 plates of cookies in front of you. Your friend has 6 plates of cookies. No fair! Is there any way that you and your friend could have the same amount of cookies?

There is a way!

You can prove it through the commutative property of multiplication!

But first, let's back up and look at your and your friend's plates of cookies. You have 2 plates of cookies. On each plate, there are 6 cookies.

- How would you figure out how many cookies you have?

You could add 6 + 6 and get 12. Or you could multiply 2 x 6 and get 12. 2 plates times 6 cookies each equals 12 cookies for you.

Now, let's look at your friend's plates of cookies. She has 6 plates. On each plate, there are 2 cookies.

- How many cookies does your friend have?

12! The same as you! You figured that out by adding 2+ 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 or by multiplying 6 x 2.

Let's compare the two multiplication equations, or number sentences, you used.

- 2 x 6 = 12
- 6 x 2 = 12

What do you notice?

There are some similarities. They both have a 12. That is called the *product*. The product is the answer when you multiply. They both have a 6 and a 2. Those are called *factors*. Factors are the numbers you multiply to get the product.

This is the commutative property. The factors (6 and 2) are in different places, but the product (12) stays the same.

So you and your friend both have 12 cookies, even though you have a different number of plates in front of you. You have 2 plates and your friend has 6 plates.

Now, continue to the *Got It?* section to go to the kitchen and practice the commutative property on your own!

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