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### Course: 4th grade foundations (Eureka Math/EngageNY) >Unit 3

Lesson 2: Topic B & C: Foundations

# Intro to associative property of multiplication

Practice changing the grouping of factors in multiplication problems and see how it affects the product.

## Grouping numbers

The image shows $3$ rows with $2$ dots in each row. We can use the expression $3×2$ to represent the array.
This image shows the same $3×2$ array copied $4$ times.
We use the expression $\left(3×2\right)×4$ to represent the array.
If we count the dots, we get a total of $24$.

### Changing the grouping

Will we get the same total if we change the parentheses so the numbers are grouped in a different way?
Let's regroup the numbers so the $2$ and the $4$ are grouped together: $3×\left(2×4\right)$.
We can also draw an array to represent this expression. Let's start with $2$ rows with $4$ dots in each row. This array shows $2×4$.
Now we need to copy the array $3$ times to represent the expression $3×\left(2×4\right)$.
If we count the dots, we still get a total of $24$.
Regrouping does not change the answer!
$\left(3×2\right)×4=3×\left(2×4\right)$

## Associative property

The math rule that allows us to regroup numbers in a multiplication problem without changing the answer is the associative property.
Let's group the numbers in the following multiplication problem two different ways and show that we get the same product both ways.
$5×4×2$
Let's start by grouping the $5$ and the $4$ together. We can evaluate the expression step by step.
$\phantom{=}\left(5×4\right)×2$
$=20×2$
$=40$
Now let's group the $4$ and the $2$ together.
$\phantom{=}5×\left(4×2\right)$
$=5×8$
$=40$
We got the same product even though the numbers were grouped two different ways.
All three expressions are equal:
$\phantom{=}5×4×2$
$=\left(5×4\right)×2$
$=5×\left(4×2\right)$

### Let's try a few problems

Problem 1
Which expressions are equal to $6×3×4$?

Now let's try evaluating an expression two different ways.
Problem 2
Fill in the missing information to solve the expression $\left(3×2\right)×5.$
$\left(3×2\right)×5$
$×\phantom{\rule{0.167em}{0ex}}5$
$\phantom{\left(3×2\right)×5}$


Now solve the same expression that has been grouped in a different way.
Problem 3
Fill in the missing information to solve the expression $3×\left(2×5\right)$.
$3×\left(2×5\right)$

$\phantom{3×\left(2×5\right)}$


$\left(3×2\right)×5=30$ and
$3×\left(2×5\right)=30$
We got the same product even though we grouped the numbers two different ways.

### Equivalent expressions

We can use the associative property to find expressions that are equivalent.
Let's start with the expression $2×2×5$.
We can group this expression two ways that are both equivalent to $2×2×5$:
$\left(2×2\right)×5$
$2×\left(2×5\right)$
By evaluating each expression step by step we can find other expressions that are also equivalent.
$\left(2×2\right)×5=4×5$
$2×\left(2×5\right)=2×10$
So our original expression, $2×2×5$, is also equivalent to $4×5$ and $2×10$.
Problem 4
Which expressions are equivalent to $8×2×4$?

## Why regroup?

Regrouping can make solving a multiplication problem easier.
Let’s look at the expression, $4×4×5$.
We can group the expression two ways:
$\left(4×4\right)×5$
$4×\left(4×5\right)$
If we evaluate the first expression step by step we get: $\left(4×4\right)×5=16×5$
If we evaluate the second expression step by step we get: $4×\left(4×5\right)=4×20$
It might be easier to find the product of $4×20$ than $16×5$.
Even though the numbers were grouped differently, both expressions have the same product.
$4×20=80$
$16×5=80$

### Let's try a problem

Problem 5
How can we group the expression $2×3×9$?

Problem 6
If we don't want to multiply a two digit number to get the final product how should we group the numbers?

## Want to join the conversation?

• Does associative property apply when there are 4 factors in an equation? For example, 2 x 4 x 5 x 10...are you applying associative property if you move the numbers around and group them differently, say (2 x 5) x 10 x 4 or does that demonstrate commutative property?
• In your example, you applied both the commutative property (to move the numbers) and the associative property to do the grouping.
• Hey I think I found an error in the activity (or else I am just really confused). In the activity for associative property of multiplication I had a question that asked me to find all examples that express the problem "9 x (3x2)" in a different way. I chose the answer, "(9x3) x 2." When I clicked to check the answer, it was correct but said there should be still another one correct, too, and would not allow me to progress until I clicked on "9 x 9." The first two questions total 54, but 9 x 9 = 81. Did anyone else get this? Is it an error in the platform or am I missing something?
• yeah, i got it too. i'm pretty sure somethings wrong with the platform
• how can you divide and mutly at thhe sme time
• If we don't want to multiply a two digit number to get the final product how should we group the numbers?
• If the associative property says we can group numbers and they'll come up to the same total then why is (2x3)x9 and 2x(3x9) have different answers?
• They both actually lead to the same answer! For (2x3)x9, (2 * 3) = 6 (PEMDAS) and 6 * 9 = 54. For the other one, you also follow PEMDAS (3 * 9) = 27 and 27 * 2 = 54. See how they both equal 54?

So that's why (2x3)x9 = 2x(3x9) and the associative property is correct! :)
• Why do you keep picking on Kate?
• what does associative property mean
• You can move the parentheses around. Parentheses associate numbers together.

Associative property is the property that makes (5 * 3) * 2 = 5 * (3 * 2).
• How do you know when to multiply the number
• Well that's pretty simple , first you need to know what are the number that you are dealing with , second you need to make it into simpler form , example; if 192*8 is very difficult to multiply make it easy to understand then follow this step 100*8= 800 then multiply 92*8 which equals 736 then add 800+736=1536 isn't it easy?.
HAVE WONDERFUL DAY!
• do you want to do some multiplication