Division Strategies

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This page contains strategies to enable 5-7 year olds to perform simple division calculations based on sharing items into sets. As well as teaching children to divide things into 2, 3 or 4 sets etc they are also taught the terms halve and quarter. This introduces them to the concept of fractions (taught further on in education as multiplication but this is very difficult to comprehend at 6 years old. It would be extremely hard to teach half of 8 is actually half times 8!). Usually they are only given numbers that divide evenly, however there may be odd occasions when they will have a remainder.
Example of division sum using sharing.

12 3 = 4

Step 1 The children are made aware that they have 12 and it has to be put into 3 sets with the same number in each set so the first thing they need to do is to draw 3 sets (usually depicted as circles).

Step 2 They start to count and put a dot for each number they count like this:- 1 dot in the 1st circle, 2nd dot in 2nd circle, 3rd dot in 3rd circle, 4th dot in 1st circle. They carry on like this moving from set to set with each count until they reach 12. (Note that the numbers I have put in the circles are for illustration purposes only the children only need to draw the dots).


Division sets


Step 3 Finally the children count the dots in 1 circle and that is the answer.

Step 4 Remember to put the answer by the original sum.



Example of division sum using simple fractions.

What is half of 14? 7

Step 1 The children will already know that anything divided in half has been cut into to equal pieces, they can therefore transpose the sum into 14 2 = 7

Step 2 Now they can apply the same principle as the sum above by sharing 14 into 2 sets and counting the dots in 1 of the sets thereby arriving at the answer 7.

Step 3 Remember to put the answer by the original sum.

Quarters are also used so children need to be aware that  1/4 is when something is divided equally into 4 sets. Generally it is only 1/2 and 1/4 that children of this age will encounter.


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