5 Fun Ways to Teach Division: Making it Real

Article Summary: No matter how many worksheets they complete, they will never make the connection until it relates to their personal environment. It has to be real! The key to teaching division so most students will understand and retain the information is to make it personal. Teaching is a personal activity.

The key to teaching division so most students will understand and retain the information is to make it personal. No matter how many worksheets they complete, they will never make the connection until it relates to their personal environment. It has to be real!

The road to learning division is pitted with potholes that have students in them. These potholes a full because students could never make the connection of division and with what it means to them. We all know that the opposite of division is multiplication and a common strategy is to memorize the multiplication table and think backwards. It is used as a method for learning division, for example "36 is 12 multiplied by 3" or "36 divided by 3 equals 12." Great the student just proved that he/she can memorize, however does the student really understand?

Let's look at five fun ways to teach division that will help students understand division.

The first way is to teach division by making it personal and fun for the students. Students use online interactive computer games to solve and create division problems. When choosing a game it should require students to use critical thinking skills. The answers that they calculate in the game are not derived from the rote memorization of the multiplication table.

An excellent online computer game that requires students to use critical thinking skills is Cyber Challenge at https://www.mathmastery.com/cyberchallenge . This interactive online computer game is free. It requires a mixture of integers and decimals to answer the questions.

Another fun way to teach division is to have the students write a story, at least three paragraphs, that require that division be the foundation of the story. This is when you can let the students be creative as they want to be when they write and develop the story. It is recommended that the teacher pick the theme, however the students develop and write their own story. This is critical for internalizing the concept of division. An example would be: "You and three of your friends went to the amusement park and earned 175 tickets in the bowling game. How are you going to divide the tickets up?"

A third fun way to teach division to your students is by having the students divide the colored blocks in a shoe box, so that everyone gets the same number. Make sure the number of blocks is equal. After they have completed this with even number of blocks with no remainders, change it up. Make sure that number of blocks is unequal this time, so there is a remainder. This requires the students to use critical thinking skills to solve the problem of what to do with the remainder.

A fourth way to make division fun is to give the students 100 buttons. Then have them divide the buttons into 4 equal piles and then 5 equal piles, etc. This helps them visualize the results of dividing using manipulatives. After they master this, have them divide their buttons into three equal piles to find out what they do with the last one remaining button. Another version would be 4 equal piles and how many times would one pile be divided in to the remaining? Have them define which pile of buttons are the divisor, dividend, quotient, and remainder.

A fifth way to make division fun for students is to determine how many pizza kits everyone in the class needs to sell for the class fund raiser. How many would each student in the 7th grade need to sell if the total needed to meet the fund raiser goal was 600? How many would each student in your class period needs to sell if they were to provide their fair share of the 600 needed for the 7th grade?