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Activity Info
Title: Arranging Arrays
Learning Target: I can make inferences with reasonable answers when using key details and information from the text.
Grade: 4
Math KCAS: 4.NBT.5
Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, and multiply two two-digit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.

Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem, distinguishing multiplicative comparison from additive comparison.

Find all factor pairs for a whole number in the range 1-100. Recognize that a whole number is a multiple of each of its factors. Determine whether a given whole number in the range 1–100 is a multiple of a given one-digit number. Determine whether a given whole number in the range 1–100 is prime or composite.

Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

Title: Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!
Subtitle: A Mathematical Story
Author: Marilyn Burns
ISBN10: 0545044456
ISBN13: 978-054504445
Lexile Reading Level: 420
Activity Descriptors
Formative Assessment Strategy:

Students will be assessed on the arrays they create from the story as well as the challenge task.


Manipulatives (1 in squares or linking cubes), graph paper, Spaghetti & Meatballs for All! And When the Doorbell Rang by Marilyn Burns, pencils, venn diagrams



  1. Pose questions to transition into reading task “ Have you ever had a friend change your plans?” “Have you ever been to a big family dinner?” Tell the students we are going to read a book about a family dinner that was very well planned … but for how long?
  2. Read the story out loud, pausing for inferencing and predicting opportunities about the text.
  3. Discuss the events in the story, summarizing the story as a whole group.
  4. Discuss the POV of the Grandmother (Mrs. Comfort), the Grandfather (Mr. Comfort), and family members (as things change, how did they react and move forward). Lead students to cite evidence from the story to support their answers.


  1. Hand out manipulatives.  Using the document camera, make the table arrangement on the original design. Ask for patterns or observation using this as a time to review arrays.
  2.  Pose the next arrangement when the Daughter and her husband push the tables together into groups of two. Have students infer what the new arrangement will look like having students use details in their description. Keep the original under the document camera. Allow students time to create the new arrangement before presenting it under the document camera.
  3. Pass out graph paper to students.  They will work in pairs to use their maniuplatives to create, draw and label the seating arrangements in the book. Present each option by placing the book under the document camera so students can read the description that they are going to create.
  4. After students are finished, review the arrays the students came up with as a class, making a list of the factors of 32 (the total number of people at the dinner).
  5. During whole group instruction show table groups increasing and decreasing, linking to multiplication and division.  Also, use area and perimeter to discuss the size of each arrangement and the number of people it seats.
  6. For independent work, allow the students the opportunity to get more squares/cubes and assign them another number.  On the back of their graph paper, they will make the arrays and show ‘table seating’ for their new number of guests. Students will also list the factors of the number given.



       11.  On the board list all the new numbers assigned.  Students will list and explain their factors and groupings                              allowing students at their seats the opportunities to create the groupings students are presenting. 



Variations, Connections, or Follow-up Suggestions

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