“There should be no such thing as boring mathematics.” – Albert Einstein. If you have taught math to kids, you know this quote is accurate. If math activities are fun and engaging, your students are all in, and you can teach them just about any math concept. With that in mind, I found out how to get your students to love division and it’s not hard at all!
Teaching Division in 3rd Grade
Your 3rd graders come into the year already understanding division on the most basic level. They have had to share something with a sibling or friend, where they had to divide to share equally.
For example, Mom buys you and your brother a small bag of M & M’s and tells you to share. What do kids do? Dump them out and proceed to divide them equally. It better be equal, or someone is complaining about it not being fair. Right?
So equal groups as the main concept in Division make absolute sense to most students.
This is the concrete way to describe division – division is dividing objects equally.
However, in 3rd-grade, division starts to become more abstract when introducing an equation that contains a divisor, dividend, and quotient. They have to learn how to write a division equation and understand this new vocabulary.
This is sometimes where your students start to struggle a bit. They may start feeling like division is not so much fun anymore.
How to Make Learning Division More Fun
One of the ways I like to make division more fun is to keep giving my students manipulatives to use as much as possible.
Of course, many classrooms contain manipulatives like counters, linking cubes, popsicle sticks, and more that can be used for division activities.
You can really bring the fun up a notch if you occasionally use candy or snacks as the manipulative.
M & M’s, Smarties, Starburst, and marshmallows are good options. Of course, you can’t do this every day but – what a fun surprise for your students when you do!
It’s definitely not a boring way to do mathematics!
Use Hands-On Activities
As your students are becoming more comfortable with division as an abstract concept by using equations and arrays, it’s harder to keep the fun going – but not impossible.
Kids LOVE hands-on activities so give them ways to practice division abstractly and in a fun, hands-on way.
One of the activities that I have found to be engaging and fun for my students is error analysis. Except you don’t call it error analysis. Why? Because it sounds kind of boring and, remember what Einstien said about boring mathematics.
We call it “being a detective and looking for the error” because that just sounds more fun.
What our kids don’t understand is that this “fun” activity engages them at the analysis level of Bloom’s Taxonomy which means they are differentiating, organizing, comparing, contrasting, examining, and questioning.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a happy teacher if my students are doing all that with one activity!
This Division 2 Truths and a Lie Activity does just that. It gives students the opportunity to use error analysis with this hands-on activity. Here is how it works:
- Students will work with specific division concepts and math models.
- Given 3 examples, students will determine which two are the truth and which one is a lie.
- Each set has 3 opportunities for students to use error analysis with math models like arrays, and equal groups, but also vocabulary and fact families!
Your students will use error analysis 5 different ways with:
- Equal Groups
- Divisors & Quotients
- Fact Families
If you’re a teacher like me who loves when my students are happy and learning at the same time – grab this fun hands-on division activity pack! It comes in happy colors (shown above) or if printer ink is a problem – a black and white version. There is also a digital version that is perfect for a math computer center!
What other ways have you found to keep division fun for your students?
If you have students who are struggling with division concepts, this post can help! I share several ways to differentiate small group division instruction!
The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.Robert John Meehan
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