## Saturday, October 8, 2011

### Division

One of the maths topic i dread to teach was division. I had no clue, I didnt know how. I first started by reading books to N and using the Montessori division board. While it helped N to understand the meaning of division, he couldn't solve a division equation like how he did for addition, multiplication etc. One of the flaw i found with the Montessori board was that while it helped the kid to derive the answer, but it doesn't teach the kids how to divide mentally (which was the ultimate task i set upon myself).

All I knew that division is about grouping. But I got confused, when we divide something, are we finding out how many sets are there or how many are there in each set? Although both gives the same answer. However, this hindered how I taught N. If I was confused, how was I to teach him?

I did a little more research and found the key to unlock all my questions. Bear with me, this is going to be a technical post.

Division IS about grouping but it didn't occur to me that it's also repeated subtraction, just as multiplication is repeated addition. Technically, when dividing, we are trying to find how many sets are there. (Although, we can also divide to find out how many units are there in each set just like multiplication i.e. we can multiply 3X4 or 4X3 to get the same answer). This was an important find because it will help the child to divide easily.

As with multiplication, I was very clear to N that when we multiply say 3 by 4, it means we are multiplying 3 sets with 4 units in each set. Because he was clear on that, he could multiply mentally. It helped him to understand that this equation for instance meant that he skip count by 4, three times. Likewise for division, when we divide 12 by 4, it means we skip count backward by 4 or subtract 4 repeatedly from 12 till we hit 0. Hence, the answer gives us the number of sets (3 for this example) when we group the units by 4 (i.e 4 units in each set).

Am I confusing you? That's alright, I wrote this for myself- so I could refer back when I've to teach baby doll.

I'll be sharing how im teaching N this topic in awhile- stay tuned!