Some real-life examples of a mathematical array include student desks in a classroom, a grid layout of city blocks and a box of chocolates. Other household and classroom arrays are a carton of eggs, a muffin tin, a box of chalk and the keyboard on a calculator.
Any group of identical or similar items in an arrangement of rows and columns is an array. The muffin tin has identical muffin cups. The chocolate box has an assortment of types of chocolates in its array; one chocolate may contain caramel and another cream, but they are similar because both are chocolates. Each desk in a classroom is identical, but each has a different student sitting in it.
An example of teaching multiplication with arrays is to say that a classroom's student desks form six columns and four rows of seats. Students can multiply the columns and rows to get the total number of desks: 24.