Is there any physical analogy to explain multiplication by zero?

This is targeted for elementary kids. One way to think is that add any number to itself zero times... Just wondering if there is a better way...

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similar question: math.stackexchange.com/questions/9703/… – PEV Feb 2 '11 at 17:55

Apples in bags.

Multiplying zero: you have a bunch of empty bags with no apples in them. You take 5 bags. How many apples do you have?

Multiplying by zero: you have many bags on the table, each with 5 apples in them. You don't take any bags, how many apples do you have?

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The area of a "rectangle" with sides 0 and $x$ is zero.

I really don't this any such analogy will be of much help...

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Suppose I have no apples, and I decide to look through all apples I have, and give you two for every one I have.

Then the total number of apples I give you is 0*2. But looking it at another way, I just start looking through all apples, and immediately stop because I found none; I haven't given you anything yet, and now I'm done.

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