One of the things I have always loved about mathematics is the “plug-and-chug” method. You give me a formula and some numbers…and vola!…I give you an answer. It is neat, clean, and organized–I love it!
Long division, and its myriad of steps, is the first opportunity your students will have “plugging and chugging.” It isn’t quite as neat and tidy as equations they will learn in Algebra or Calculus, but it does embody a series of steps–that, if performed accurately in the same order, for every problem, the right answer will result. And, there is even a formula for checking long division answers to ensure they are correct.
So, how do you transform your glassy-eyed students, or those that just don’t “get math” into those that embrace the joy and simplicity of long division? You turn them into ROBOTS–Division Robots :)!
It isn’t that we don’t want our students thinking, and pondering about mathematical concepts–but, in order to be successful with long division, they really just need to act like a robot. They need to learn the steps and complete them in the right order–it’s that simple!
You’ll want to begin by teaching your students the terms they will need to know to effectively talk about the steps in each problem. This we’ll do with an instructional poster and flash cards (with fun Melonheadz graphics!)
Then, you’ll go through each of the six steps using a sample problem and instructional posters:
- Bring down & repeat steps 1-4
- Determine if there is a remainder
- Check the answer
Now, it is time to put pencil to paper. Using the task cards included in Division Robots, or other division problems you provide, your students will work the long division using the color/robot-coded graphic organizer and their Student Graphic Reminder Card.
As they get more comfortable with the steps in the process, graduate them to the black & white computation sheets, and then the blank sheets (with the “check” reminder). It won’t be long before your students are Dividing Like Robots!