Full Digi-Block Activity

Equal Shares
• To model sharing equally (division) by dividing sets into two, three, four, or more equal parts • To express a division situation with a number sentence



This lesson introduces the sharing, or partitive, model of division. Students use blocks to model a division story problem. They separate the same set of blocks into 2, 3, 4, and more equal groups and explore the relationship between the growing number of subsets and the number within each subset. Students also express the division with a number sentence.

Each individual or pair of students needs: 18 – 36 single blocks 1 Dividing Blocks activity sheet paper plates or construction paper circles for organizing groups

Everyday Math Connection
In Everyday Mathematics Lesson 11.4, students model division stories with counters. In “Equal Shares” they use Digi-Blocks to explore what happens when a number is divided in to an increasing numbers of groups. They record their findings in a table, writing a number sentence to match each situation. Students conclude that as the number of groups increases, the quantity within each group decreases. The activity, “Fair Shares” in Packed With Math (Grades 2-3) further develops this idea.

Unit 11 Activity A

Equal Shares


Class Introduction

20 min

Provide small paper plates to pairs of students. Suggest that students use them to help organize blocks as they are solving problems. Use student volunteers to play the roles of (Michelle), (Tony), and (Natalie) in the following story:
(Michelle) has a box of Digi-Blocks. She opens the box and pours all 18 onto her desk. She is looking forward to playing a game with them. How happy she is to have all 18 blocks to herself!

• Ask,
How many blocks in all? How many students? How many blocks does each student have?

How can we show the story with numbers?
Number Sentence

18 18

1 2

18 9

18 ÷ 1 = 18 18 ÷ 2 = 9

Explain that often a table can help organize what happens in a story, especially the one they are about to hear. Draw a table on the board. (See figure.) • Students suggest you write 18, 1, and 18 in the first three columns. They will likely not know how to write a number sentence to match the action in the story. Help them eliminate possibilities and explain why the operations with which they are familiar don’t work: 18 + 1, 18 – 1. Students may suggest 18 × 1 which does reflect the organization of the blocks. Although this is not the intended response, record this number sentence and then go back later and edit it with students. Continue the story with:
Just as (Michelle) is about to begin playing, her friend, (Tony,) asks, “May I join you?” (Michelle) says, “Of course you may, it’s more fun to play with a friend than alone!” So (Michelle) and (Tony) decide to share the blocks equally.

• Have two students show how they share the blocks, placing 9 on each plate. Have students describe why this is equal. • Refer to the table, ask: How can we show what happened with numbers? Students will suggest writing 18, 2, and 9 as they answer each question.
If we want to write a number sentence that tells “18 shared equally between 2 is 9 each,” we use a division symbol like this:

18 ÷ 2 = 9 Continue the story:
Just as (Michelle) and (Tony) are about to start their game, along comes (Natalie). (Natalie) asks, “May I play, too?” (Michelle) and (Tony) say, “Of course you may. It’s more fun to

Unit 11 Activity A

Equal Shares

play with three people than two!”

• Have students share the blocks. They will figure out that each student will get 6 blocks. • Ask, How can we show what we did with numbers? Record 18, 3, and 6 in each column. • Have students help to write the number sentence: 18 ÷ 3 = 6. Continue the story in a similar way, having students share the 18 blocks among 4, 5, and 6 students. • When dividing 4 ways, students will discover that 2 blocks are left over. Add that in order to be fair, these blocks must be put aside because they cannot be sawed in halves – they wouldn’t be blocks anymore! Explain that we call these remainders and show how to record the remaining blocks as R2.

The authors of Everyday Mathematics suggest that the arrow symbol ( ) be used instead of the equal symbol (=) in problems that have remainders. See page 790 for further reading.

Pair / Independent Practice 15 min
Distribute Dividing Blocks activity sheets to pairs or individual students. Distribute plates and blocks and review the directions. • Name numbers for students to practice sharing. Assign the same number to at least two different students so that they can compare and discuss their work, especially if their tables look different in the end. • Suggested numbers are: 12, 20, 24, and 36 depending on students’ levels.

Assessment Observe students during the introduction and as they complete the activity sheet, do they: 


5 min

Have students think about what they did with blocks and have them study their tables. If they need prompting, suggest that they look for patterns in their numbers. Ask questions, such as:
What number did you divide? Who else worked with the same number? What happened when you shared 2 (3, 4, . . .6) ways? How did you show this with a number sentence? What kinds of patterns do you see on your table? What happens to everyone’s share as the blocks are shared among more and more people? Why does this happen?

Understand equal shares? Accurately name the total number, number of equal shares, and number in each share? Express the division in a number sentence? Understand the concept of a remainder as a leftover and how to record it? 

During the discussion, observe and note, do students: 

Describe the action of sharing or partitive division accurately? Understand the big idea that each share gets smaller as the whole is shared more ways? 

Unit 11 Activity A

Equal Shares


Name Dividing Blocks


Materials: • Your teacher will tell you how many blocks you need to get started. • You will need 6 plates. Directions: 1. Share the blocks equally, beginning with one, two, and three plates. Continue to 6 plates! 2. After each sharing write the numbers and the division number sentence in the table. Don’t forget remainders!

How many blocks in all?

How How many many blocks does children? each child have?

Blocks left over:

Number sentence





16 ÷ 5 = 3 R1

1 2 3


Unit 11 Activity A

Equal Shares

Student Book p. 32

© Digi-Block

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