Monday, 22 October 2012

Sharing in Division

The classic banana sharing activity! I have used this to teach division multiple times. When teaching any of the number operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), I try to make sure that I am teaching the students many different strategies that they can use to solve equations. 

For basic division, the main strategies I teach are: sharing, inverse operations, and chunking/splitting. I always start with sharing as it is the simplest and most basic way to explain division. This activity is a concrete approach to teaching the sharing strategy.

Each student is given a worded division problem and pictures of bananas as their counters. They need to solve the problem by sharing their bananas between the amount of people in their problem to show how many bananas each person receives. 

In this example, the problem is the following:  
"There are 20 bananas in a bunch. Two people will share them. How many bananas will each person receive?"

This student cut out the twenty bananas from their bunch and split them between the two people to solve the problem. Although this seems like a very simple task, it is a great introduction into division and is an easy way for you, as a teacher, to identify whether the students in your class understand the concept of division through sharing. 

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