My students are now Jedi-Masters when it comes to long division, and here’s a fun activity we culminated with that is easy to prepare and fun to carry out. 🙂
What You Need:
1) Strips of butcher paper roughly 2 x 3 ft in size (Luckily, my husband owns a Hispanic newspaper and was able to get his hands on some free newsprint that was being thrown out.)
2) Washable markers, highlighters, or Sharpie Flip Chart markers (anything that won’t bleed through the paper and onto the carpet if students decide to work on the floor)
3) Optional: One computer, iPod, iPad, etc. to check answers using CalculatorSoup.com.
What To Do:
1) Group students in pairs (preferably mixed-ability)
2) Tell students to create and write their own Division Challenge problem using the following criteria (I wrote these instructions on the board for them to refer to.)
- There must be exactly 9 digits in the dividend and do not repeat any numbers (That way they won’t write an easy problem like 777,777,777 divided by 7. Obviously I’m explaining this because it already happened and I learned by experience. #crazykids :P)
- Tell them to choose a specific number for the divisor. I chose seven. That will prevent them from choosing an easy divisor like 2 or 3 that would end up being simpler to solve. Or you can allow them to choose a number greater than 5 but less than 10 to keep the challenge fair.
3) Once finished students should OF COURSE check their answer by multiplying the quotient with the divisor. How many times do we have to say that, right??
4) Here’s the optional part – If they have a “match,” they should go to a computer, iPad, iPod, etc. and check their answer using the Long Division Calculator with Remainders at CalculatorSoup.com. Unless you don’t want them to know this site exists – it could be a real temptation when doing homework. 😛 But since this is a culminating activity, you should be fine.
5) Once my kids had finished all these steps, I gave them 3 ClassDojo points because I’m a sucker for extrinsic motivation and probably use it too much.
6) You could then tell your early finishers to create an even bigger Division Challenge on the opposite side while waiting on the rest of the pairs to finish. Mine really came through on this and solved some ridiculously large problems that were too big for the calculator website!
7) Bonus Points: We use the SeeSaw app which is a digital learning porfolio app, so I created a special Long Division Posters folder and students uploaded their masterpieces to SeeSaw to share with parents and peers.
(For extra EXTRA bonus points, you can have students create long division tutorials and upload them to SeeSaw, too. I assigned that last week as a homework assignment and then shared a few of them on our Smart Board when we had a few spare minutes.) Here’s an actual example sped up and “GIFed.”
And that’s it! Super easy to prep and the students loved it. I also like that although it was a challenge, it wasn’t competitive. Pairs worked at their own pace and the goal was simply to solve their own problem, not to finish first. They were very proud of their posters, and in the past I have placed them on the walls of the classroom.
So that’s a wrap! What’s your favorite activity/trick for teaching long division?