The commutative property states that numbers can be moved around in an equation and the same solution will be reached. This property applies to addition, subtraction and multiplication, but it does not apply to an equation with division.
The example of "a + b= b + a" explains the commutative property in addition. The order of the numbers are switched, and the equation reaches the same solution. In multiplication, the property is explained as "ab = ba".
The name of the commutative property is derived from the word "commute" or "to move around," referring to the movement of numbers explained by the property.