Understanding the concept of division can be a difficult concept for many students. While some students can understand that division is just the inverse operation of multiplication, they sometimes struggle with the understanding that division means dividing a collection into equal groups. To help introduce the concept of equal groups, third grade students worked in the LRC to practice actually splitting up various collections into equal groups.
First Mrs. Sayre and I had the students gather into one group of 24. Then we called various factors of 24 to have the students move themselves around to create that specific number of equal groups. They had to gather into groups of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12. Then to add a challenge, we had them gather into 24 groups to determine how many students would have to be in each group to make them equal. They really had to talk amongst themselves to determine if they were making equal groups of the specific number or making equal groups with that amount in each. This prompted a critical discussion of important terms such as dividend, divisor, and quotient.
Next, students rotated to the following stations that Mrs. Sayre set up for us:
Hoola Hoops - The first student read an index card that contained a basic division problem. They had to identify the dividend and quotient before setting up the correct number of hoops to represent the dividend and then tossed the correct number of bean bags into each hoop. When they were finished, they had to read the division fact to their group. The members of their group praised them and then the next student was up.
Bracelets for Friends - Each student had an index card with a short story problem that involved bracelets that they had to share with their friends. The dividend told them the number of baggies they needed to get (one for each of their friends) and the divisor indicated the number of bracelets to go into each bag. When they were through, they had to recite the division fact with the quotient to their group and again they received praise for a job well done!
Pretzel Baskets - This station contained 48 paper pretzels that had to be divided into equal groups. The first student rolled the die to determine how many baskets s/he needed. This was a tricky station for some since the dividend was always 48. This involved some large numbers as quotients!
Giant Dice - Students rolled one yellow die and one green die. The green die contained higher numbers and indicated the dividend, while the yellow die included lower numbers and indicated the divisor. Students then took the correct number of paper clips to match the dividend and set up the correct number of cups to match the divisor. This station proved to be the most challenging since some of the random problems ended up with some leftover clips (later identified as remainders).
Sticker Fun - This last station involved simple story problems and dividing up a total number of stickers into equal groups on paper. The students then had to write the division number sentence that described the story and the related multiplication fact that went along with it.
This activity proved to be both enjoyable and informative for the students. They came back to class with a much stronger understanding of division and its relationship to multiplication. A great big thank you goes out to Mrs. Sayre for helping us put this awesome activity together!!