Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tackling Division

Last week I raided our local toy store for poker chips. I know, sounds weird doesn't it?

Let's just say that last week was one of those schooling disaster weeks that we all have now & again. There were more tears then learning, more high strung emotions then laughter, & many moments when people were willing to throw in the towel & quit with just about anything they'd started.

I was determined, however, to make the week worth our effort of counting it as an official school week, so we set off in search of poker chips.

You see, my child went from totally getting division to suddenly staring at the problems on his paper until tears gushed forth. I was shocked, which was quickly replaced with frustration. While lamenting our day to Mr S & looking for something online, cause I'm pretty good at multitasking sometimes, I stumbled upon a photo where someone used a similar method above to help her child understand division. I smiled, most likely for the first time all week. Seriously, it was a rough week.

What I did was provide him with 3 different coloured poker chips, a white board, & a white board marker. We wrote the division problem on the white board. Then we drew boxes on the board for the divisor {the groups we needed to divide the main number into}. Then we pulled out poker chips to work with.

We started with 5 chips worth 10 each, & 1 chip worth 5 points. Once he sees that he can't evenly divide the amount over 8 boxes, he exchanges his 10 point chips for 5 point chips & tries again. Once he can't work anymore with those chips, he exchanges them for 1's. In the picture above, we started with paper circles, but they were too difficult to pick up, which is when I ran to the toy shop in town.

I had him work all sorts of division problems over & over & over until he could confidently manoeuvre himself with the chips & whiteboard. {His absolute favourite problems to work through are any math problems with parentheses. Seriously, his dream math problem is one that requires filling the entire board with equations, clearly he'll love algebra.} Just to be sure we've got him grounded I pulled all math off the schedule for this week & have him only working on basic division problems so he's not dealing with remainders. Slow & steady is my theory, because once they catch on they move really fast.

Notes: I know someone will ask, I did not label our chips. I had planned to, but my sharpie seems to be missing after our farewell at the beach. Not a huge issue because it was in need of replacing anyway. I had a smaller point permanent marker on hand, but I didn't like how small it made the numbers. I will be labeling them as soon as I replace my sharpie. The idea is to write 100 on one side of the reds, 10 on the other side. Blues are 5 & I'm debating 3's. Whites are 1's, & may become 2's as well. I don't expect him to need the chips forever, but if they help him feel confident now, so be it. I figure the chips won't go astray labeled or not.

1 comment:

Heather said...

cool idea Kendra! I will try it with my guy who forgets his division now and then.