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Spider Math

Spider rings as multiplication manipulatives

A while back, I was walking through Wal-Mart and saw 50 packs of those Halloween spider rings for $1!  $1!  And I was struck with an idea, for this price, they’d be a great manipulative when we introduce arrays and multiplication!  Our kiddos were introduced to arrays last year in second grade and they aren’t brand new to them, but I knew they’d help solidify things as we’re expecting students to master many areas of multiplication this year.  I love how engaged my students were in our Spider Math Halloween unit and it was the perfect introduction to multiplication for the students during October.

Introduction to Multiplication

To introduce multiplication, we do a hands-on exploration while creating a chart representing products to 12. To introduce it, each student gets 1 ring.  We talk about how many are there and create an array and multiplication equation to show what is represented.  Then students get two rings.  I show them that the can do two columns in one row, and two rows in one column.  We then use that picture to draw the array and write the multiplication facts.

We continue to add an additional spider through a total of 18.  We continue to draw the arrays and talk about the combinations we can make.  Through this work we explore the identity and commutative properties.  We also talk about even numbers always having an additional equation since they’re even and always divisible by 2.  This activity is the basis for our multiplication exploration and lays the framework for our introduction to multiplication.


After I had this stroke of an idea, I decided to make a themed set.  Throughout this week we’ll continue to talk about the properties we’ve explored with our spider rings, as well as other multiplication strategies.

We use our rings again to look closely at what we can use to solve multiplication facts.  (Yes, I know this is sideways.)  🙂

We make flip books again exploring multiplication strategies.

And on Halloween, since we don’t directly celebrate it, we do this fun craftivity to keep kids engaged in their learning (since they’ll be off their rockers from excitement!)

There’s a very simple template included in the unit that you could use.

You could show students how folding the paper strips will bring it into a more 3D design.

In my room though, we talked about how to make a circle, and then students folded paper strips to make their spiders.

I love this cute spider with the bow.  Make this cute spider craftivity to apply multiplication knowledge of arrays.

You can check out more about this unit by clicking on the image below and heading to my TpT store.




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