There are four cars in the driveway. Each car has 4 wheels. How many wheels in all?
Remind your third grader that there are equal groups because all 4 cars have 4 wheels. Some children will be able to find the answer mentally, others may skip count by 4s to find the answer, others may benefit from drawing a picture to show all the wheels. We also learned that multiplication is the same as repeated addition, so we can add 4 + 4 + 4 + 4. Regardless of process, the children should understand that they are finding 4 x 4 or 4 groups of 4.
We furthered our understanding of multiplication by learning about arrays. An array is a rectangle arranged into equal rows. For example, if I have 3 rows with 5 squares in each row, I have a multiplication problem. I can find out how many squares in all by multiplying 3 x 5. (You probably learned this as finding the area. We will make that connection later in the year.)