Grades 3-5
A major theme of students’ work in upper elementary school is understanding division and especially how division relates to place value and the concept of units. In third grade, students develop informal strategies for solving division problems in various contexts; in fourth and fifth grades, they develop fluency while extending their conceptual understanding to make sense of dividing larger numbers and dividing nonwhole numbers using decimal representation. The Illuminations activity
"How Many Each? How Many Are Left?: Conceptualizing Division with Large Numbers" can be used early in the year in each grade level to assess students’ readiness to use efficient strategies to solve division problems. Teachers can differentiate by providing different numbers of counters; making the groups different sizes; and by providing different manipulatives to divide, such as using place-value blocks in fourth grade, or dollars, dimes, and pennies in fifth grade.
Additional links: Another tool for offering students more practice with the “partial products” method for fair-sharing division is to use
“The Quotient Café” interactive from Illuminations. For more information about the division learning trajectory, elementary math coach Graham Fletcher, a member of NCTM’s Classroom Resources Committee, has prepared an
eight-minute video illustrating some of the division concepts, methods, and procedures students learn from third through sixth grade.
Get Lesson