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A Winter-Themed Math Project That Makes Multiplication Fun

Are you feeling the need for a break from your regular math routine?

It’s the perfect time to continue plugging away on standards while squeezing in a little winter-themed math fun.

During the weeks leading up to December break, the structure of Math Workshop can remain the same in your classroom, but students can work to be hired as Array Architects for Snowflake Valley rather than completing problem solving task cards during the At Your Seat rotation of workshop.

Having a little chunk of time to work on this festive math project each day is the perfect dose of winter excitement students are longing for while still maintaining a focus on rigorous math learning before our longest break of the year.

This resource is perfect for third grade classrooms, but can also be used as enrichment for second grade learners. 

Let’s take a closer look at this multiplication project based learning resource


Project Overview

During this winter-themed math project your third grade students will work toward becoming an Array Architect for Snowflake Valley. The snowpeople in the valley are getting ready to host their annual Winter Wonderland Festival. 

This year, they want to redesign the layout of the festival so all the decorations and attractions are arranged in arrays and equal groups. 

As part of their job application process, students must create a Winter Wonderland Festival map that includes a variety of arrays and equal groups, along with a festival directory that features all the equations and problem solving that corresponds with their unique design. 

Core Inspiration Array Architects Winter Multiplication Project Simulation Launch page for students

This project based learning unit requires the application of students’ knowledge of equal groups, arrays, multiplication and division fact families, and properties of multiplication. Throughout the process of the Winter Wonderland Array Architects simulation, students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through creative design, engage in rigorous problem solving incorporating their math knowledge, and build organization skills as they plan and execute this multi-day project.


Math Skills Students Will Practice During This Multiplication & Arrays Project

The main focus of this math simulation is on third grade multiplication & division standards. Throughout the project, students will:

  • Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division.
  • Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide, including Commutative, Distributive, and Associative Property.
  • Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. 
  • Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems.
  • Interpret products & quotients of whole numbers. 

Winter Wonderland Array Architects Simulation Steps

Here are the steps your students will take as they work towards becoming an array architect:

★ Sketch a Winter Wonderland Festival map, which includes arrays and equal groups. During this step, your students will use the included checklist to guide them as they design a wonderland that includes a variety of arrays that represent the different properties of multiplication. They will then label the arrays and equal groups on the wonderland map.

Winter Wonderland Arrays and Multiplication Project Map with Design Checlklist

★ Create a Festival Directory that shows the mathematical thinking behind each array included in their wonderland design. Students will identify the multiplication sentence, repeated addition sentence, and fact family related to each array on their map. Then they will solve word problems that require them to analyze each array, and its relation to the various multiplication properties (Associative, Commutative, Distributive, and Identity Property).

Core Inspiration Winter Wonderland Arrays and Multiplication Project guide next to completed directory page showing multiplication math reasoning

★ Complete a self-assessment of their project using a three-part rubric. Each of the project deliverables described above has its own section on the rubric so students can participate in a very specific and fair assessment process as they demonstrate their learning.

Multiplication arrays project with included rubric ready for student self reflection and teacher scoring

Saving You Time & Making Differentiation Possible 

Want to incorporate a project into your multiplication unit, but crunched for instructional time?

This resource makes prepping for project based learning a breeze and makes implementation seamless. The detailed visual instructions on each page of the guide make it possible for students to complete their unique project with maximum independence so you have the time you need to teach or reteach essential multiplication and division skills to small groups.

Core Inspiration Winter Wonderland Arrays and Multiplication Project guide next to completed directory page showing multiplication math reasoning

Scoring and providing students with feedback is also when using the included rubric. Each of the three project phases: map design, festival directory creation, and work habits has its own rubric so students can participate in the assessment process as they demonstrate learning, and you can provide them with specific feedback about their work.


Ideas for Using This Multiplication Project Based Learning Guide 

Every step of the Winter Wonderland Array Architects experience is outlined in a project guide that includes clear visuals and step-by-step instructions. Rubrics and reflection prompts will encourage your students to reach their learning goals. 

Winter multiplication project rubric laying net to instructions for student scoring and self reflection

This project gives students the opportunity to exercise the standards for mathematical practice, share their creativity, and display understanding in unique and engaging ways.  

The format of this math simulation guide makes it an ideal resource for:

★ At your seat & hands on enrichment during math workshop or guided math

★ Math center work

★ Digital learning (a Google Slides version of the entire project is included) 

★ Parent volunteer or teacher’s aide enrichment station

★ A focal point for a multiplication & arrays room transformation 

★ An alternative assessment that allows you to measure student understanding on a deeper level as a culmination to your multiplication & arrays unit.  


Bring This Winter-Themed Multiplication Project to Your 3rd Grade Classroom

Whether you’re looking to bring a little life to your multiplication unit, searching for an activity that provides enrichment to your high flyers while you teach small groups, or you just want a festive way to mix up your math routine this winter season, you and your students will love Winter Wonderland Array Architects! 

Visit the Winter Array Architects resource page to see a full preview so you can learn more about this fun math project. 

If you have any questions about this math simulation, let me know in the comments below.

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I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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