Thursday, November 29, 2012

How do YOU divide?

Today is Thursday, so my post should be an iPad app suggestion, and I have a great one for you, but I had something cool come up in class today and decided to share it with you.  Stop by tomorrow for this week’s app suggestion.  Now, on to my eye opening math lesson.

Last week, on my kids math assessment, there was a problem that asked the kids to divide $5 between 6 kids.  All of my kids got stuck on this problem, so I decided to take the opportunity to use this to review long division.

Now, bear in mind that my math program doesn’t actually teach long division, instead it teaches students to use multiplication to solve division problems.  However, many of my students have been taught to divide in previous years at other schools.  All of my students are new to this school and this math program, and as they are coming to me in 3rd or 4th grade, they already have a base built in their previous programs.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), they don’t all come from the same previous programs.  Out of a class of 7 (Yes, I’m the luckiest teacher in the world and I only have 7 kids!), 2 have “American International School” backgrounds, 1 has a “British International School” background, 2 have “Moroccan  Private School” backgrounds and 2 have “Spanish Private School” backgrounds.  Because of all of this diversity, I always try to tell my kids that there are many ways to solve a problem and you should choose the way that makes the most sense to you. 

Last night I assigned a few math division problems to help them review.  While we were reviewing them in class today, one of my students taught me a new way to divide.  Here’s what her paper looked like:

A New Strategy for Long Division

It totally blew my mind at first, and I actually had to go to my husband (who grew up in the Moroccan Private School system) to actually explain it to me.  Once he did, I was able to see the connections between the now 3 different ways we haFree printable poster with three different strategies to solve a long division used to solve a long division problem.  So, I decided to make a poster for my kids to help them see the similarities and to guide them through choosing the strategy that works best for them.  I’m going to make similar posters for the other operations, as I work out all the different ways to solve those problems too.  Right now, I only have division finished, but if you’d like a copy of the poster, feel free to grab a free copy from Google Docs.

Now, my curious mind is wondering – how do you divide?  Which of these methods is your preferred method?  Do you have another?  I’d love to hear about!  Please leave me a comment!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources