Footnote 1

3 fish tanks, with 2 fish in each tank, is not the same thing as 2 fish tanks, with 3 fish in each tank. Even though in both cases there are 6 fish altogether the models are different. I use 2 x 3 to refer to the first situation – the multiplier (3) is the number of sets and the multiplicand (2) is the number of elements in each set. Very few teachers distinguish 2 x 3 from 3 x 2, and among those that do, some do it one way and some do it the other way. There is no standard. If you choose to introduce your child to the notation, I suggest that you pick one way or the other and stick to it.

(Of course, there is no need for children to know the words "multiplier" and "multiplicand.")