Division Day 2: Cookie Time!

Back into the division trenches today with one of my favorite “kick off” activities!  I love it when a piece of literature can spark a lesson, and this is no exception.  Marilyn Burns turned me on to this idea a few years back, and I have taken the ideas in her lesson and expanded it to really challenge my students.  The lesson unfolds over a few days–I am going to try to paint the picture for you!

Are you familiar with this book?

We start by reading the text and the students immediately pick up on the division concept presented within. They start to chatter as I read and make predictions about what is going to happen next.  For those of you who don’t know it, Mom makes cookies to share with the two kids.  They are each prepared to eat six–until the doorbell rings and two more people are there to share.  They are satisfied with four each–until the doorbell rings.  You get the picture.  Fortunately, right when TOTAL CRISIS is about to strike, Grandma shows up with more!
I use the time to review exactly how to “write” division.  We talk about the different symbols that are used, some of the “fancy words” like divisor and dividend, and review the concept of splitting into equal parts.  I then introduce one of two ways for the students to “Mathematically Retell” the story.  Some years I have them make a little flip book (see my quick mock up below) and other years I do a bigger “Cartoon” style layout.
Flip book version
Here’s what we did THIS year…
Another version…

What we do is this . . . we make the first box a “title” box, retell the story in the next 4 boxes using words, pictures, and/or mathematical symbols and number sentences.  The kids had a blast retelling the story, and some got VERY creative with their sketching!  Being the math-smart teachers that you are, you realize that I have only addressed the first 5 out of 8 boxes. . . so here goes.
The 6th box is for them to show what happens when Grandma comes.  This is a little tricky for many–they easily figure out that the mom made 12 cookies.  When Grandma comes, I tell them that she brought 18 MORE cookies.  By the time she arrives, there are 12 people waiting to share cookies, so they do have some discussion before tackling it.  The two misconceptions?
1.  They only address the 18 Grandma brought when figuring out how many cookies everyone gets. . . they forget the original 12!
2.  They get stumped when it doesn’t work out evenly!  This is usually pretty temporary, and they start dividing the cookies in a variety of ways.
The final two boxes are for the students to continue the story–THEY get to decide how many cookies Grandma brings!  This is a great way to differentiate!  I worked with a few strugglers by suggesting numbers that worked out well while others were VERY happy to load Granny up with a big pile!

I love to watch how students’ minds work, so I snapped a few photos of several different ways I saw them representing the sharing!  I was on the lookout for incorrect use of symbols (Found one who wrote 6 divided by 12), those who were really struggling with the concept of equal parts (grabbed some counters to model the sharing), and those who didn’t really understand the 30 divided by 12 problem.  We hashed through it, did some sharing as a class, and then I picked a few to show their final two boxes up on the Smartboard.
It was a fun kick off–and we continued the “cookie theme” for the next few days.  I’ll fill you in more later!  Have a great night . . .