What Is an Area Model?

An area model is a graphical representation of a multiplication or division problem. Area models are used in math to help students better visualize what is happening in a problem, creating a conceptual understanding of often abstract problems. For problems involving smaller numbers, drawing the model on a grid can make calculations easier.

A basic area model is a square or rectangle, with the width and height of the shape labeled with the corresponding numerals. While area models are commonly used to depict and determine the area of a space (hence the name), they can also be used to show fractions and percentages.