How to Teach Division to Third Graders

Children learn some of the most important math basics in third grade, which include multiplication and division facts within 100. Before helping your child learn division, make sure he or she has a firm grasp on the multiplication facts. Keep reading for teaching strategies you can use at home.

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Teaching Third Graders to Divide

Introducing Division

Third graders need to know their multiplication table fairly well before learning division, so introduce division towards the end of third grade. When you divide something, you are breaking it up into equal parts. It's like having four pizzas to divide between four family members -- each one gets a whole pizza so that they share equally. Using this visual, you can then write it in mathematical form: 4 ÷ 4 = 1 (four pizzas divided by four family members equals one pizza for each family member).

Although using visuals is a good way to introduce division to your third grader, there are other ways to begin, such as reading books. Divide and Ride by Stuart J. Murphy finds ways to divide 11 friends who all want to ride on a roller coaster. Elinor J. Pinczes' One Hundred Hungry Ants tells how the ants arrive too late to the picnic because they were trying to divide themselves into groups so they could get there faster. Finally, in Pam Calvert's The Multiplying Menace Divides: A Math Adventure, a fairy tale plot is interwoven with practical division instruction.

Practice Division

To practice division with your child, put a small plate at each place on the dining room table. Give your child a handful of dried beans and have him divide them evenly 'for each person.' You can start with having him go around the table putting one bean at a time at each plate until he has put an equal number on each plate. If there are beans left over, this remainder is for putting in tomorrow's soup.

The next time, have your child count the beans and then try to determine how many beans each person should get. She can then put that many beans on each plate to check her math.

Other ways to practice division facts include:

  • Singing along with CDs like:
    • Songs That Teach Division by Kim Mitzo Thompson
    • Division Songs by Kathy Troxel
  • Playing indoor games from books such as:
    • 25 Super Cool Math Board Games: Easy-to-Play Reproducible Games That Teach Essential Math Skills, Grades 3-6 by Lorraine Hopping Egan
    • Mega-Fun Card-Game Math, Grades 3-5 by Karol L. Yeatts
    • Math Games to Master Basic Skills: Multiplication & Division by Denise Kiernan

You can also find a lot of interactive math games and worksheets on the Internet. A creative way to use poetry and music to learn division is for you and your child to write your own rhymes; your child may like to set the rhymes to music. You could come up with something like:

Ten cents is the same as a dime; wish I could find a way to rhyme
Ten divided by five equals two or ten divided by two equals five.
But if I think as hard as I can, I really don't think I have the time
To even divide ten by ten. Nothing seems to really jive.
But ten divided by ten equals one, and ten divided by one is ten.
But can I get it all to rhyme? Just let me tell you, I don't know when.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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