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Developing Two Meanings for Division

Developing Two Meanings for Division

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Published by Digi-Block
Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Grades 3-4, Lesson 4-1
Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Grades 3-4, Lesson 4-1

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Digi-Block on Jul 15, 2013
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Developing Two Meanings for Division
n division,we start with a number that is to be divided into groups,andwe want to find either the number of groups or the number in each group.These two situations are modeled differently.When we divide 18 into groups of 3,wewant to find out how many groups we’llget.Because we can repeatedly takegroups of 3 from the 18,this model isoften called “repeated subtraction.”Students can connect this idea to themodel of multiplication as repeatedaddition.When we divide 18 into 3 groups to findthe number in each group,we distribute18 evenly among 3 groups.This is oftenknown as the “sharingmodel of division.Students are familiar with the sharingprocess from their daily lives and modelit easily.
Finding the Number of Groups
In order to easily connect with the repeated addition model of multiplication,begin with the “how many groups” or repeated subtraction meaning of divi-sion. Present the problem:
There are 32 blocks on the table.Each child gets to take 8 blocks.How many children will get blocks?
Have students work together to model the problem, taking groups of 8 blocksuntil there are no blocks left. Ask,
How many children have blocks? If you put the blocks together again, how many wouldthere be?
Have students combine the blocks to check. While the inverse relationship(8
4=32) may be obvious to some, not all students will make the connec-tion; continue to explore this relationship over time.
Modeling the two meanings of division andwriting number sentences
The division example 18
3 can represent 18 divided into equalgroups of 3 (left) or 18 divided into 3 equal groups (right).
Repeat this process a couple of times, beginning with a different total number of blocks and a different number of blocks for each child. For the last example you give, ask students to record the entire process on paper using drawings, words, or pictures. For example, if students repeatedly took 8 blocks from 24(24÷8), they might use pictures or words such as “We had 24 blocks andtook 8 of them 3 times.” Some might write 24 – 8 – 8 – 8 = 0. Encouragestudents to share their recordings. When appropriate, introduce the division sentence 24 ÷ 8 = 3. Make surestudents are able to read the division sign and to identify what part of thephysical model each number represents. Explain that we can use divisionto find the number of groups, summarizing this way:
8=3in allin each groupgroups
Students can also represent the repeated subtraction model of division on num-ber lines. For 24÷8, for example, students first show 24 blocks on a number line and then remove groups of 8, placing each group on another line (or other- wise making sure they remain in separate groups, perhaps with paper plates).
Finding the Number in Each Group
Present the following story problem to illustrate the sharing model of division.
There are 36 blocks for 4 children to share.How may blocks will each child get?
Have students model the problem in groups of four. They will most likely distribute the blocks one by one. That is, they will each take one block, thenanother, and continue until there are no blocks left. Again, have studentsconsider several examples and record their work for the last one you give. When appropriate, connect this process to a division sentence. Help thestudents relate each number to their physical actions with the blocks.Summarize this way:
4=9in allgroupsin each group
To continue making the connection between division and multiplication, ask,
How many will there be when the children put their blocks back together? How can you write a number sentence for this action?
Understanding the inverse relationship of multiplication and division allowsstudents to use multiplication facts in order to find quotients. For example, to
find 8÷2, students can think about what number they would multiply by 2to get eight. Many experiences separating and combining equal groups of blocks are essential for students to grasp this relationship.Number lines can be used here as well. To model 28 ÷ 4, students take the 28blocks and distribute them one at a time to each of four number lines.
Applying the Two Meanings of Division
 When students understand the basic meanings of division, they should beexposed to the normal variety of story problems within your curriculum. Alsoencourage students to create their own problems.Note that when students are solving problems, they usually model the mean-ing of division suggested by the story. Students may be less sure as to how toproceed when given a division example out of a particular context.Present the example 21÷7 and have students demonstrate their techniquesfor finding the answer. Some students may make groups of 7, others may make 7 groups –– this is exactly what you want to happen. Ask students whatthey notice. You want them to note that there are two different models for 21÷3, but that both have the same answer. This idea will be explored further in the next section.
Practicing Key Ideas
Twelve into Equal Groups
Students work with 12 blocks and find different ways to separate the blocks intoequal groups,using all 12 blocks.They record each way they find.For a greater challenge,have students begin with 24 blocks.
Sharing Fairly
Students work in pairs to find how many students can share 18 blocks so that eachof them gets the same number and there are no blocks left over.Encourage studentsto use the blocks to find all possible answers.Some students will argue that oneperson having 18 blocks is not a possibility as that wouldn’t involve sharing.Let thestudents decide this for themselves.For a greater challenge,have students model the sharing of 36 blocks.

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