After the children have described the process (starting with 12 blocks andseparating groups of 3), ask,
If we put these blocks together again, how many will there be?
Do not be surprised if the children don’t immediately recognize the answer of 12. They need many opportunities to join and separate equal groups tounderstand this inverse relationship.Finally, have the children model a situation in which they know the total andthe number of groups, but not how many in each group. For example, havethem take 10 blocks and put them in 5 equal groups. When they havearranged the blocks, ask,
What did you do with the blocks? How many blocks are there in each group?
After the children have described the process and their thinking, ask,
If you put the blocks back together, how many will there be?
Repeat with additional examples, always asking how many there would be if the blocks were combined again.
Practicing Key Ideas
Making Equal Groups
Children work in pairs.They roll a die to determine the number of groups.Then theyfind the total when they place first 1 block in each group,then 2 blocks,3 blocks,andfinally 4 blocks.They can record their work in a table.
Children count out 12 blocks and explore how the blocks can be separated intoequal groups.Children should record each way they find using pictures,stamps,or words.
1. Ask the child to make 4 groups of 2 blocks and find the total number of blocks. Does the child•make the groups correctly?• find the correct total?