To make the classroom lessons a wholesome experience for every child, it may become an arduous task for teachers to plan the lessons accordingly, especially for certain subjects and also for students of younger grades.

To teach complicated concepts of mathematics such as Associative property can be an overwhelming experience for both the students and the teacher. This calls for assistance and also changes the strategies of teaching.

Since the topic associative property is crucial and unmissable, employing strategies like activities and games that bring glee and knowledge together can be a smart choice for educators and teachers.

**Hence, in this post, we will talk about the various games and activities that teachers can use during classroom studies, activity hours, and even as holiday homework! **

**Associative property: a paramount math concept?**

The associative property is a math concept that states that when three or more numbers are added and multiplied, the sum or the product respectively will be the same regardless of grouping the addends or multiplicands. Grouping indicates the use of parentheses or brackets in order to group the number.

When numbers are grouped together in parenthesis or bracket, they become one unit. It is important to know that the concept of associative property can be used only with addition and multiplication but not with subtraction or division.

The term ‘Associative property” comes from the word “Associate” which implies the grouping of the numbers.

Associative property can be expressed as A x (B x C) = (A x B) x C and A + (B +C) = (A + B) + C. The reason why the associative property concept is not applicable to the operations like subtraction and division is that for subtraction it can be expressed as (A-B) – C ≠ A – (B – C). Substituting this formula with numbers as an example: (4-2) – 3 ≠ 4 – (2 – 3) which gives the result as -1 ≠ 5. This is why the Associative property is not applicable to subtraction.

On the other hand, For division, it can be expressed as (A ÷ B) ÷ C ≠ A ÷ (B ÷ C). Substituting this formula with numbers as an example: (4 ÷ 2) ÷ 3 ≠ 4 ÷ (2 ÷ 3) which gives the result as 2/3 ≠ 6. This is why Associative property is not applicable to division.

Now all of these might seem easy to a grown-up but they can be quite bewildering for the little ones! Although, there are various games, apps, and websites to learn math for young learners, here are a few games and activities that can make the associative property a smooth ride for the little learners.

**Games & activities to help your little learner with associative property**

**1. Learn With Cards**

Cards can be great tools, as children mostly associate them with fun and games. But, a deck can be used to teach children volumes about concepts like Associative property.

- For this activity, the student needs to randomly pick 2 cards, and then, they should find the factors and divide them in their parenthesis.
- For instance, if the card they picked was 6 and 4, we know that through multiplying, the result would be 24. But here 6*4 can also be written as 2*3*4.
- Now the learner can play with parentheses to give out equations like 2(3*4) or (2*3)*4.
- They can now find solutions for each of these and see that all of them are the same, depicting the importance of associative property.

**2. Associative property Tic Tac Toe game**

Associative property is all about inferring that the position of the numbers during an operation has no effect on the results. For instance: 1+3+4= 3+1+4. The same can be learned with a crafted game with tic tac toe too.

- To start with, the mentor procures a 3*3 grid for the game on the paper. Now each player sits opposite to one another and rolls the number three times each to get their set of numbers to start the game.
- It starts with one player writing a number, and then the other.
- The one who forms a straight line with their numbers is the winner.
- As the players sit opposite to one another, they see the pattern of winning numbers in different sequences.
- For instance, one pupil can see 1, 3, 5 and others may see in sequence 5, 3,1. The two pupils add their numbers in that sequence to see that the answers are the same, satisfying the associative property.
- This game can also be deviated for other operations like multiplication too. With the implication of an enticing game, this choice can be intriguing and can be implemented anytime.

**3. Dots**

- On 4 similar sizes of small sheets of paper, draw dots with paint or even bindis can be used. Each paper should contain a similar number of dots. For instance, draw 6 dots, and divide them into 3 rows and 2 columns.
- Now, multiply those numbers as (2 x 3) x 4 which should give you the product as 24. Now take 2 smaller pieces of paper, which create 4 columns and 3 rows.
- This should mean your product should be (4 x 3) x 2 = 24. You can create worksheets for students and ask them to fill in the blanks or guess how many remaining dots or bindis are required to equate the product on both sides.
- A similar kind of activity can be done for the associative property of addition. This activity is easy to prepare as you just need a few cutouts of paper, stick-on dots or markers, and a sheet of paper. You can change the rules of the activity accordingly.

**4. Math tombola**

- We all know how tombola is played. But instead of the students striking out numbers that will be given by the Tambola wheel, speak out 3 sets of numbers along with a bead that will contain either the plus or the multiplication symbol.
- This will ask the students to combine the number, create parenthesis and find the number, which will be either a product or sum of the particular 3 numbers, and students will strike the number they obtained on their tickets.
- To increase the difficulty you can always increase the set of numbers from 3 or 4 accordingly.
- This game is easy to understand as many of us have heard and played tombola. If a tombola wheel is not available you can always create chits that will contain all the numbers and sign and shuffle them in each round.

This game is suitable for kids from 6^{th} to 7^{th} grade.

**5. Vegetable prints**

- Take a vegetable that has a good print like Okra and take three different colors of paint.
- On a sheet of paper, visualize the given problem sum with these prints. The different paint colors will help in the grouping of the numbers.
- For instance, if the numbers considered are 1,2, and 3, then relevant numbers are stamped on paper.
- Now, these numbers are jumbled and stamped again below. Now, the learner can count the number of stamps in both the cases to find the answer is the same.
- Visualizing any concept makes it easier for children or even adults to understand in a much easier way. This activity is fun as children love color, are easy to prepare for, and do not have many rules.

**6. Angle Sum Game**

- While games and activities that teach students about a certain concept can be great! But, activities that inculcate 2 concepts can be a boon for the kids.
- In this activity, the teacher needs to make 5 different drawings of angles on the blackboard. It needs to be a general angle chart with 4 or more lines depicting different angles.

It can look something like this –

- The students now come to the board with their protractors and check what angle that is. Since we know that the sum of all the angles is 180, the equation would be something like:
**Angle 1 + Angle 2 + Angle 3 + Angle 4 = 180°.** - However, the twist here would be to divide the angles in associative expression and then form the equation to derive the final answer 180. So it could look like:
**(22°+46°) + (98°+14°) = 180°** - The expressions can be made even easier or more complex depending upon the angles given. This concept would not only help with the learning of associative property but will help the kids brush up their angles too!

**Conclusion**

With the increase in the difficulty of mathematical concepts, it may not be easy for each and every student to grasp the concepts at a go or in the first class. With a shift towards and depending more on interactive and creative learning styles, games and activities are something all the students look forward to.

Being one of the eminent properties of operations, associative regulations are often necessary to infer and solve math problems in the higher grades. With this idea, evidently, practice may assist. Nonetheless, ensuring games and activities may be a bonus to learn sensibly. Check out the choices depicted above to see if any of them maybe your choice for your little one.

An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,