Education Technology

Marching Columns

Activity Overview

Students investigate constructing arrangements of different numbers of manipulatives into equal groups. They learn to use mathematical language, identify patterns with numbers, recognize the commutative property, and transfer the arrangements made with manipulatives to grid paper.


Students will explore the following concepts in this activity:

  • multiplication
  • commutative property
  • algebra

About the Lesson

To introduce the activity, read One Hundred Hungry Ants to the students.

Have the students sit in a circle on the floor and count 100 manipulatives, to represent the 100 ants. If using connecting cubes, the cubes could be snapped together in groups of 10 to facilitate the activity.

While students are still sitting in a circle on the floor, encourage them to retell the story and help to arrange the manipulatives to reflect the actions in the story for example: 1 long line of 100, 2 lines of 50, 4 lines of 25 ants.

Students will then explore the commutative property using the manipulatives, and finally their calculators.