# Subject Area: Algebra

Grade Level: 9-12

Unit Title: Modular Arithmetic

Lesson Title: Intro to Modular Arithmetic and Equivalences Classes

This lesson is designed as one continuous lesson for teaching over multiple days. When

beginning a new class period, review may be necessary. This lesson should not exceed

two days on a block schedule.

Standards

- Common Core

o High School Number Theory

Choose and interpret unit consistently in formulas

- NCTM

o Use number theory arguments to justify relationships involving whole

numbers

Objectives

- Students should be able to recognize and use modular arithmetic

- Students should be able to explain the importance of the remainder in modular

arithmetic

- Students should be able to describe why numbers are related to one another in an

equivalence class

Materials/Resources Needed:

- Six large boxes labeled 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and (n-1)

- A table tent labeled with a set of ellipsis

- A table or grouping of desks to place the above supplies on in the front of the

room

- Pieces of paper with problems written on them for the students, two for each

student. Print half of problems on one color paper and the other half on a

different colored piece of paper.

Anticipatory Set

o How can you explain division?

o What are the parts to a division problem?

o We will do a division problem as a class to remind everyone of the aspects of

division

o How can we find a remainder without going through an entire long division

problem? Can you do it in your head?

o Practice a few easy division problems to get the remainders

Objective/Purpose

We will discuss how remainders are important in modular arithmetic. We will

also discuss how different numbers can provide the same remainders when divided by the

same divisor.

Input

The students will need to know that an equivalence class is a grouping of numbers

that have equivalent remainders when divided by a unique number. The class will

discover this through finding several numbers that have the same remainder and

discussing a relationship between these numbers.

We, as a class, will discover that there are a finite number of equivalence classes for each

number in modular arithmetic. (i.e: 0,1,2,3,…, n-1 when n is the number being

investigated)

Model

We will be working through a few division problems together quickly just to show that

we can find the remainder for many divisors through long division.

Then, we will be quickly review more simple problems looking for the remainder.

Examples:

- 4 divided by 2 gives a remainder of 0

- 6 divided by 4 gives a remainder of 2

- 15 divided by 9 gives a remainder of 6

- 21 divided by 10 gives a remainder of 1

Check for Understanding

- Ask the students what they notice about the remainders

(Desired realization: The remainders are less than the number we divide by)

o Follow up: What do you notice about the size of the remainder in relation

to the divisor?

- Have a discussion with the class to find out what the students find interesting,

difficult, easy…

- Ask students what questions they have for me

Guided Practice

As a reminder to the students, you can put the below problem with labels on the board.

Have the students help you fill in the correct terms for each part. Students should be able

to work with partners or in small groups for this part.

http://www.mathwizz.com/ari

thmetic/help/help9.htm

Ask the students, “Is it possible to get the same remainder more than once, with different

division problems?”

“When do we see this occur?”

“Can you get the same remainder when dividing different dividends by the same

divisor?”

“What are some examples?”

Have the class consider that if we want the divisor to be 3 and the remainder to be 2, what

the possible dividend options are.

Examples:

5 divided by 3 gives a remainder of 2

8 divided by 3 gives a remainder of 2

11 divided by 3 gives a remainder of 2

14 divided by 3 gives a remainder of 2

17 divided by 3 gives a remainder of 2

Ask the students what they notice about these dividends in relation to each other.

(Anticipated response: the difference between the dividends is 3)

“Would this work for all cases? Pick a new divisor, a, and a new remainder, b, and try to

find a group of dividends that have a difference of a between consecutive numbers.”

“Each combination of remainder and divisor creates a set of numbers, dividends, which

we can categorize by calling them equivalence classes.”

We write equivalence classes in terms of the remainders of a division problem.

We have been doing division using a long division method but there is another way of

thinking about the arithmetic called modular arithmetic where we write the problem in

the following way:

a ÷ bmod n , Where a is the dividend, b is the remainder and n is the divisor. We can

then say

n(a÷b) .

Once you have found the remainder of a given problem you can write the equivalence

class in the following terms:

b | |= a,b, ncZ a ÷ bmod n { }

For example let’s look back to the remainder of two with divisor of 3

2 | |= acZ a ÷ 2mod 3 { }= ...2,5,8,11,14,17,... { }

Have students find negative possibilities.

Independent Practice

Game with equivalence classes using modular notation

Modular basketball

Put all of the boxes and the table tent on a desk or table at the front of the room.

| |

is similar to a box. This box is the equivalence class that holds all of the dividends in

it for a particular divisor and is labeled with the remainder.

We have found that the remainders could be as follows:

0

| |

,

1

| |

,

2

| |

, …,

n ÷1

| |

where n is the divisor

For the game, only use boxes with equivalence classes of 0, 1, 2, and 3. We will be using

mod 4.

Each student will be given two modular arithmetic problems on separate sheets of paper.

The students’ job is to solve their problem and throw their problem into the

corresponding “equivalence class” box. The two different colors of paper designate two

different teams that will be competing for the most correct answers.

After all students have solved all of their given problems, go through each box with the

class and check all of the answers. If a problem is in the incorrect box, have the students

decide together which box it belongs in.

Closure

Score the game by counting the correct number of answers using the two different colors

of paper representing the two different times. This will encourage students to obtain the

correct answer, as they will be relied on by their teammates. Students may work in their

teams if a member is stuck on a problem. Do not use names of students on the problems

so that the game is a group effort not an individual competition.

Independent Practice

Have students perform a quick write describing the process of modular arithmetic.