Children can benefit vastly from receiving homework help from their parents after school, but many adults struggle to communicate basic mathematic principles, even when they understand how to perform them. For parents who want to help their children with their homework, the following guide will be able to help you teach your child division.
Explaining the Concept of Division
Before your child can begin to practice division problems, they first need to understand the concept of division. Explain it to them by relating the idea of division to the idea of sharing. Help them conceptualize it by explaining how a number of items can be shared equally between groups, and give them examples. You might show them how six cookies can be given to three children so each of them has two, or how someone with eight apples could give four each to two friends.
By creating practical examples with visual references, you can ensure your children will have an easier time grasping the concept of division.
Games to Help Your Child Understand Division
Children are very visual and kinesthetic learners; they will process new information more quickly if they're able to see it in front of them and interact with it. Because of this, it can be easier to teach children division by creating math games to pay with them. Consider the following games to help your child understand division:
Beads and a Muffin Tin
This can be a very expansive exercise for kids to understand division. Give your child a fixed number of beads, and tell them to divide them equally between a certain number of tins. Start with showing the child how to divide the beads into two tins, using different numbers of beads each time, then gradually move to dividing by different numbers. When the child has beads left over from the exercise, you'll have the opportunity to explain remainders to them.
Printable Division Games
Consider printing out or drawing a division "match-up" puzzle where you give your child math problems and have them match up pieces of paper that have the solution on them. This is a good step up from using manipulates, as it requires children to work out the answer on their own but still provides some help, should they need it.
Teaching Your Child Long Division
Understanding long division can be another challenging hurdle for children, as long division requires a more technical understanding of math than simple division. Help them memorize the step-by-step process of performing long division, then provide them with long division problems to work out. The order of operations for long division is as follows:
- Drop to the next digit
When teaching children long division, start with simple problems that divide evenly, then gradually introduce more complex problems. Use the following steps to help your child gain a mastery of division:
- Step 1: Basic division as inverse of your times tables. Since your child has a basic understanding of multiplication and most of their times tables memorized, this is a good way to introduce division. The number 24, for example, can be made by multiplying 3 and 8. Show your child that 24 can be broken into 3 groups of 8 by reversing their multiplication facts. They can also see that 24 can be broken into 8 groups of 3 and many more groupings.
- Step 2: Introduction to long division with no remainders. Once your child masters the basics of division they can start practicing long division. It will be best for them to practice with some larger numbers that they cannot easily calculate in their head. For example, if your child is trying to calculate 651 divided by 3 they will need to write out each step of long division in order to get the right answer. Problems like these will help them practice the "multiply and subtract" steps.
- Step 3: Division with a remainder After your child has a firm grasp on the steps of long division, it is time to introduce remainders. There are many tricks to see which numbers can be easily divisible by 2, 3, 5, and 10. Knowing these tricks will help you come up with division problems for your child that has remainders. Explain to them that sometimes when you divide there will be something left over. Like when 3 friends want to share 7 slices of pizza, there will be one slice remaining. When your child sees that sometimes there will be remainders with division problems but can confidently find the solution, you have helped them master division.
Division can be a difficult concept for children to grasp when they first approach it in their math classes. Help your child with division outside the classroom using these tips to help ensure they approach school armed with all the knowledge they need to succeed.