Students who can't grasp division...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by heavens54, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Most of my class have mastered the objective of division, long, for fourth grade. I have a few struggling stragglers left. They just don't seem to get it. How can I help them? We've gone over it 100 times, the division family (Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Rover), seen ppts and videos on Scholastic Study Jams. Practiced on whiteboards and quizzes, homework. What else can I do for these two or three? They are so close. Any ideas? Please?
     
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  3. dolphinteacher

    dolphinteacher Rookie

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    Have you tried the menu method? That method seems to be easier for some of my lower students. If you need me to explain it to you just pm me. :)
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm kind of out of my element with kids this young.

    But have you explained WHY the algorithm works? Instead of "Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Rover" maybe explain that each time you put another digit on top, you're narrowing in on the quotient, and by multiplying it by the divisor lets you see how close you've come to the dividend?
     
  5. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    How are their multiplication skills? If you're long-dividing 2 into 53, for example, you have to be able to easily visualize how many times it goes into 5 and 13.

    Many of my students have trouble doing multiplication (and subtraction) in their heads, which makes long division really difficult.

    Have you tried using manipulatives or multiplication tables with the ones who are struggling?
     
  6. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    Can you pm this method to me too??:)
     
  7. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I have 4 6th graders that don't get it either. Can you pm this method to me too??? I am at my wits end. Thanks.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  9. juli233

    juli233 Companion

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    I agree if they don't have the concept of multiplication down division will be even harder! My own daughter in 3rd grade struggles with math a bit and although it wasn't my first option and I was leary about even trying it I resorted to... candy! we used nerds(teeny candies) and did the multiplication and division with the candies, it helped her to have the visual manipulative, plus she got to eat the candy when we finished the page.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Apr 9, 2012

    Did you do this with longer division? Like 5 into 38?
     
  11. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    In 5th grade,when we review, we are asked not to say "5 into 58". We are asked to say "How many groups of 5 can you make out of 58" because of the visual link. Many of them learned multiplication through visuals, so the math coaches encourage us to use the same method. It really does help with explaining the algorithm of WHY it works. (as Alice said). It is a more elementary method of explaining the algorithm.
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We also look for groups as well. This does seem to help some of my struggling students. I also give them a card with the steps to follow and teach them to use a multiplication table as it is usually their facts holding them up.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oh, Mopar. What a great point about the multiplication tables. I've actually know student that without the consistent use of the table, the facts would never have been learned. It was always getting the same answer that allowed them to finally imprint the right information in their brain. Took about 2 years, but it worked.

    By having the table, it targets the learning to the process/procedure of long division. I see long division as 3 distinct areas. Concept, what exactly are you doing and why. Procedure, the sequence or process to come to a final answer. Underlying skills, math facts and subtraction skills.

    Sometimes kids do need the other areas removed as much as possible until the procedure is learned.
     
  14. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I know our fourth grade teacher had some success having the kids who were struggling use base ten blocks and do the physical dividing as well.
     
  15. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I agree with Mopar about using a multiplication table/chart to solve division problems. Students will "get" the division idea in this way, and consistent use of a multiplication chart can help students memorize their facts.
     
  16. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Would you let them us the multiplication table during a graded quiz? I know it would help them to much better on the test, but wasn't sure if it was OK to do. I, personally, for these two students, don't mind them using tools to help them for a while...
     
  17. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I would, if I was not testing multiplication facts. I would mark this for the next year's teacher as a modification though.
     
  18. dolphinteacher

    dolphinteacher Rookie

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    Here is the menu method that has been taught in the school I work at. One of the 5th grade teachers taught it to me and it does seem to help some students. It is easier than the guess and check method.l
    menu method works for basic division and long division too. The steps are to have their students write the division problem on the left side of the paper with a division bar. for example 2017 divided by 7, on the right side of the paper have them draw a box. The box is their menu. Explain that just like restaurants have a menu of items to choose from so does math. In the menu box we are going to write the 7 multiplication facts we know. Have them write
    7x1= 7 in the top of the box. Tell them that if we know that one we also know 7x10 and 7x100 because all we have to do is add zeros to our answer. Continue for 2's and 5's in the menu. To use the menu have students look at the number under the division bar and choose a number from their menu that gets them close to the number in the example it would be 7x200=1400. Have students write the number they multiplied 7 by in () under the left side of the problem. The 1400 goes under the 2017 and you subtract. (don't write anything at the top of the division bar yet). Keep going in this method untill you either have no remainder or your remainder is less than the divisor. If you have a remainder now write it at the top of the divisor bar all the way to the right. next step is to add up all of the numbers you put in (). Write this number above the divisor bar. This is your answer. Check answer.
    Hope this helps. If you have any questions just let me know
     
  19. Gareth

    Gareth Rookie

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    Can you have some concrete materials like counters or MAB blocks do demonstrate the division while at the same time showing the sum on the board. The students can see the correlation between the two to see what they look like. Then they can do a few on their own using the same method.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Ouch.

    I know it's a long way down the road, but those kids are in HUGE trouble when they have to divide polynomials.
     
  21. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    That was my exact thought Alice! I had a student use this method and I've worked all year to get him used to the traditional algorithm.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Between that and lattice multiplication, it's easy to see why so many kids flounder in high school algebra.

    It's even easy to believe the parents who say "He's always done well in math before."
     
  23. juli233

    juli233 Companion

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    short answer yes but we reversed it into groups(like doing add to check on a subtraction problem)

    Knitter answered it best for me! :

    we are asked not to say "5 into 58". We are asked to say "How many groups of 5 can you make out of 58" because of the visual link. Many of them learned multiplication through visuals, so the math coaches encourage us to use the same method. It really does help with explaining the algorithm of WHY it works. (as Alice said). It is a more elementary method of explaining the algorithm.
     
  24. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    My thoughts too. And while I can see how this would be easier for some kids, I don't see a way to transition towards the standard algorithm. If you're going to use some of these alternative methods, I think they should be ones that act as bridges to the standard ones.
     
  25. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Unfortunately some math programs are all about these alternative methods. For most of my students its hard enough to learn the alternative method, then to try to teach them the standard way afterwards just isn't possible, there just isn't enough time. Although the biggest problem with most of my students is that they can't multiply...:(
     
  26. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    We have this exact problem. We use Everyday Mathematics, which is ALL about alternative methods. The problem is, we have to flush through so many of these, that students don't get enough practice to be confident in ANY of them, let alone the traditional algorithms (which EM doesn't even cover).
     

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