A Case Of Student Resistance Against Division & Trying To Convince Kids Division Is Important

in Education5 months ago

Hi everyone. In this education post, I talk about a recent thing that is going on in my educational services work. We do have one student in particular who is okay with learning the basics of fractions but shows very strong resistance against division. This student is actually capable of doing division (stuff like 60 divided 7) but she does not really want to do it.

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Division As Reverse Multiplication

One teaching method that has been used with students and division is the concept of reverse multiplication. Twenty-four divided by six can be expressed as six times something equals 24. The answer here is four so 24 divided by 6 is 4.

Here is another example. What is fifty divided by ten? As reverse multiplication it is ten times something is fifty. The answer with this is five as 5 x 10 = 50.

If the division is slow I think it is likely that the student needs more practice on multiplication and number sense. The hard multiplication cases tend to be multiplication with 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, 11s and 12s.

I do not cover division with remainder in this post in detail. It is important though as it reappears in converting improper fractions to mixed numbers.

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Division Does Return In Different Ways

Mathematics, languages, sciences and a few other topics do have concepts that build upon previous concepts. These fields of study are considered tougher as you cannot learn about it in a few days before a test and then forget about it.

I try to convince young students in grades four and five that division is important. It does show up again for them in the next few years. There is no avoiding it.

Here is my list of topics that build upon division. You will notice that division is a foundational topic for later math topics in middle school and high school.

  • Division Problem Solving (How many dozens from 36 donuts? It is 3)
  • Improper Fractions To Mixed Numbers
  • Reducing Fractions With Greatest Common Factors
  • Unit Prices ($4 for 4 cucumbers, how much for 1 cucumber)
  • Order of Operations & Algebra
  • Multiplying & Dividing Fractions
  • Convert An Annual Salary Into Hourly Wage


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Getting Through The Hard Topics

I am not sure if this student refuses to do work on other topics that are considered difficult or not fun. A concept like division is one of those topics that is important in terms of number sense and mathematical development for a child. Knowing when to divide is important for problem solving. In addition knowing how to divide numbers is important too.

Students in their early age need to understand early that not all topics are fun nor easy. For these tough topics a lot of work and practice is needed. Students do need develop some sort of grit so they can at least put effort in tough situations or in learning tough topics in schools. It is not good for a person's character to easily give up at the first sign of something hard. In the school setting a lack of grit and determination would hold the student back in terms of development and learning. A student may get away with it with not learning something well in the short term. In the long run a newer concept can be tough if the student lacks a solid understanding and skill of prerequisite knowledge.

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Thank you for reading.


The division is something that is in the activities we do daily, all the time even if we do not notice it, we are dividing and the same happens with children, since I was a child I was raised in a commercial environment, so I handle mathematics to perfection since I was 6 years old, then, when in school they wanted to teach me the divisions, as I did not know that it was practically the same as I did daily, it was difficult to learn them.

From my point of view, so that a child or any person, learns quickly to divide, first we must try to place an example with their daily life so that they observe and analyze that the divisions are quite easy because we always do them unconsciously.

I remember from school that it was very helpfull to learn about miltiplication this way: 6x4 is either 6+6+6+6=24 or 4+4+4+4+4+4=24. Just as a fact, maybe it is not very helpfull sometimes, but still 😅

That is the repeated addition form for multiplication. It can help for certain students.