When I was young and first learning about multiplication, I was told to think of multiplication as ‘sets of’ items or numbers. Whilst this approach has lost a little of its appeal these days, the principle is useful in another way of doing division.
Activity: Dividing Using Grids
Year 2 to Year 6
- Understand that division is ‘how many times’ a number can be made from a larger number
- Use grids to help with multiplication
You’ll need plenty of squared paper. Choose cm2 for younger pupils and 0.5cm2 for the older pupils.
Draw a rectangle covering the number of squares you want to use as your number to be divided. To get the pupils to divide by say six, ask them to draw round groups of six until they can’t do any more. Then simply count up the number of groups and the number of left over squares to give the quotient and the remainder.
The collecting of the divisors doesn’t have to be in regular shapes as above and the activity lends itself to a game where the pupils play in pairs to circle the divisor clusters until there are no more to be done. It’s a fun way to practice division skills and facts without pages of boring numbers.
The activity can also be reversed for multiplication – the return to ‘sets’ of yesteryear, by giving the pupils sets of the divisors and ask them to join them together to make the multiples, counting the squares to get the answer.