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How on earth do I teach division?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by brewer86, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. brewer86

    brewer86 New commenter

    I'm coming up to the end of my NQT year in a secondary school, and am coming round to another number topic, including division. And I'm struggling for ideas!

    I feel that the topic is so ingrained in me I don't even know that I'm doing it, and I find myself struggling to relate to the problems that the pupils have, and the difficulties they face. I also think I've kind of assumed that the pupils are coming up to me from primary knowing how to divide.
    I taught the topic towards the end of 2010 and I remember it going shockingly, so if anyone has any good ideas or good topics I'd love to hear/see them. I've mentioned it in my department, but they all seem to have similar thoughts to me.

  2. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    To low abilities I've just done dividing without remainders, so 264 by 2.

    with higher abilities I like to start with a longer one like 28649 by 2, then the same number by 3, then by 4 etc. Hopefully they spot that the answer gets progressively smaller as they divide by something bigger.
    In a similar vein. I h give them a memory stick has 1000kb. how many 1b files, then 2b files, then 3b filesetc.
    I like them to spot the pattern
  3. What age/ability? Are they struggling with the concept of division? Are you using methods they are familiar with?
  4. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    We definitely need to know all of this.
    With any ability level I would want to confirm that they understand division as sharing into equal groups and as how many in. Both methods are useful.
    I do think it is worth covering chunking. It emphasises the understanding of what division is.
  5. I'm very much with bombaysapphire on this one. When I first met chunking (and grid method for multiplication) it seemed totally alien to me but I have seen it work tremendously well with a wide range of pupils.

    If find that in introducing chunking it's a good idea initially to give them the required multiples of the divisor and let them get used to the method itself. Once happy with that, the step to working out what multiples of the divisor are useful is not such a big step.

    Hope that helps but do come back and tell us more details about the class you are teaching this to.
  6. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    1 repeated subtraction
    2 partitioning
    3 appeal to spatial awareness
    with 60 / 3 = 10 x 6 / 3 = 10 x 2
    4 Formation of an algorithm
    5 as the inverse/opposite of multiplication
    it really does crop up all over the place...
    good luck

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