Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Simple Strategy for Introducing Division & Free Powerpoint!

Happy weekend, friends!

Last week was a four day week (thank you Election Day!) and I soaked up every minute of that day off.  Now we're in that beautiful downhill stretch to Christmas Break.  Too early?

My class this year is uber procedural and has a hard time discussing ANNNNYTHING.

Me:  What's your favorite book we've read?
Student:  Frindle.
Me:  Oh that's a good one! How come?
Student:  ............ It was good.
Me:  Any other reasons?
Student:  ... I liked it.
Me:  Okay.  Anyone else?
Class:  Chirp, chirp....

So I've really been working on dragging out some of our conversations.  This is especially important in math.  If we can discuss math, then I know they've got it (or don't).  I was super nervous as we began our unit on division this week.  I knew we'd need something basic but purposeful.  So I whipped up some amazing super duper squares.  On colored paper.  So, nothing earth shattering or crazy.  But WHOA.  I paired it with this SIMPLE powerpoint, and ta-da!  We're on our way to understanding division - the first step!

I just created an array on powerpoint {because I tried in Word and why would anyone ever create anything in Word anymore?  Oh my word {HA!} and then printed and had my kiddos cut.  {I don't know about y'all, but cutting takes foreeever.  I always put a timer up and give them like 2 minutes.  If they don't finish, then we discuss how to multi task and I move on while they wrap up}.

So then I popped up this PPT {grab it fo' FREE aqui} and we discussed what we already knew about division, what words represented division, and if we knew any division facts off the top of our head.  {My kiddos didn't}.  So then we moved on to some division problems, discussing what a division problem LOOKS like, and then began dividing.  We started with 24 little squares and dividing 24 by 4.  I was amazed at all the different ways my kiddos divided 24 into 4 equal groups!

Look at all the strategies just for 24 divided by 4!

Some  counted out 4 at a time, others created four groups, and others used arrays!  This led into some great sharing and CONVERSING about the different strategies.  How do we know what the answer is?  What is the correct way to solve this?  Is there a "correct" way?  We continued to use 24 and divide by basic numbers {no remainders for us quite yet}.  This simple strategy paired with genuine conversation and questioning, really helped my kiddos start to grasp this thing we call division.  I plan on doing the same thing tomorrow but with a new number.

I know this is beyond simple, but I knew I needed my kiddos to really have a part in the making of 24 {cutting out the array} and then dividing it up on their own.  I am so glad I did because I saw SO many lightbulbs come on.  Now I need to work on carrying this over into those bigger numbers.  Any suggestions?

Have a great rest of the weekend!  Cheers!


  1. Thanks for the powerpoint. I think your activity is perfect - division is really hard. I introduced division the 2nd week of third grade this year, and some kids had tears in their eyes. Have a wonderful week - hopefully you'll have Veterans Day off, too!

    1. Hey Susan! Thanks so much for stopping by. Unfortunately, we don't have Veteran's Day off, but I'm going out of town on Thursday evening so I have Friday off! I'm looking forward to the short week :)

      Division is such a tricky thing to teach - I hope this helps your 3rd graders!

      Have a wonderful week! Cheers!