Combining Division Resources

With so many great resources available, it can be hard to pick and choose what works for your classroom. It can also be a challenge to determine how to incorporate all of your resources. In this series, I share my personal lesson plans to show how I integrate my math resources. I start each section of the post with the weekly overview, and then I detail each part of the lesson.

You can see the place value post here. The multiplication post has been broken into two parts, because it’s a long unit! You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Week 1-Concept of Division

Students were introduced to division in third grade. However, most students need to spend a little time reviewing the concept and connecting multiplication and division, rather than jumping right in to multi-digit division.

Math Warm-Ups

This week’s Math Warm-Ups contain similar actives with the order shifted just a bit. On Monday students complete the measurement word problem. Keep in mind that I have conversion charts displayed in the classroom. On Tuesday, they complete an error analysis problem, and on Wednesday, a quick image-unitizing activity. On Friday, students count by tens-starting at 45 tens. As they count, I make sure to ask, “How else could you say 49 tens, 50 tens?” and I have students make predictions for the last number counted.

This week SPLAT! is replaced with a number string activity. This is great reinforcement for place value and addition. As with all number talks, students do not use paper to compute the problems.

Math Check-Ups

While at this point in the year students have obviously, learned a lot more than multi-digit multiplication, that is the focus of the check-ups. By this point, all students (or the vast majority) shouldn’t have too much trouble with other concepts. Plus, those concepts will come back into the mix a little later in the year. With time, the frequency in which those skills must be reviewed can gradually be spread further apart.

Math Centers

This is an easy section. There are no math centers. I’ll take a minute to explain.

While I do have division math centers, I’ve chosen not to incorporate them at this time. For the next three weeks we take a break from centers. In order for me to reach my pacing goal for the halfway point of the year, I had to choose between division centers and my upcoming Christmas centers. For now, I went with the Christmas Centers.

Scribble Notes

During Friday’s mini lesson, students add to their Scribble Notes. It’s important to connect divisibility rules with factors and multiples. Once students see the connection, it makes the concept much easier for students.

Division Lessons

This week the lessons focus on connecting multiplication and division and reviewing the concept of division with a focus on interpreting the remainders. I like to address interpreting remainders at the very beginning of the unit so that we can revisit the concept throughout the remainder of the unit, even the year.

Week 2-Area Models

This week students begin to move into multi-digit division with area models. You’ll see that I move through this slowly, which is definitely intentional. I’ve found that starting slow helps speed the entire process.

Math Warm-Ups

There are no new activities introduced in the Math Warm-Ups for the week. However, the level of difficulty of the problems continues to increase for students.

Math Check-Ups

The Math Check-Ups continue to be short and sweet. I don’t want this to become something students dread or for them to take away from our instructional time.

Scribble Notes

Students do not add anything to their Scribble Notes this week. I love easy it is to be flexible with these notes. 

Division Lessons

To be perfectly honest, I don’t love dividing with area models. It’s not an efficient way to divide. However, I do spend a week teaching this, because of the foundation that it provides. I rarely have a student continue to use this method later in the division unit, but it still serves a valuable role. Students need to see the connections between multiplication, division, area models, and arrays. Once they put it together, this rest is much more natural for students.

I also think it’s important to point out that I am not taking a formal assessment on division. This is a concept that students need ample time to learn before formally assessing.

Week 3-Partial Quotient

This week I transition students from area models to partial quotient. This is typically an easy transition for students, and they wonder why I waited so long to show it to them! I don’t introduce the algorithm at this point in the year, because I found that it confuses too many students.

Math Warm-Ups

This week’s Math Warm-Ups introduce fractions. The quick image activity shifts to general fraction pictures. Since fractions have not yet been introduced, the images are very simple. This begins to activate students’ prior fraction knowledge.

Counting by fractions typically blows my students’ minds! It is shocking to see how challenging this is for students, but you will quickly see the value in it.

Math Check-Ups

This week division is added to students’ Math Check-Ups. I won’t have a lot of built-in small group time this week. However, next week I will be able to spend a lot of time with small groups. On a side note, I do allow students who continue to struggle with multiplication facts to use a multiplication chart for these check-ups. I want to zone in on these specific concepts and prevent students from not understanding division because of multiplication facts.

Scribble Notes

This week students add division to their Scribble Notes. They show how to divide with area models and partial quotient, which is a good conceptual review. Sometimes that review is what helps concepts “click” for some students.

Division Lessons

This week the lessons transition students to using partial quotient and then focus on problem solving. Once we reach this point in the unit, I let students use whichever strategy they prefer. The vast majority always chooses partial quotient.

Week 4-It’s Complicated

This week is quite a bit different. I wrap up division AND begin fractions in the same week. You’ll see this again in the fraction post! I do this for a couple of reasons. One is that I need to keep moving forward. I would love to spend a little extra time on division, but I also recognize I still have a lot to teach. This week is my compromise. I reteach division in small groups during our Christmas Math Centers, and our division assessment is on Friday. Plus, I weave in a great Christmas themed performance task during our science block.

Math Warm-Ups

Fractions are pretty heavy in this week’s math warm-ups. The measurement word problem and number strings are still there.

The quick image activity transitions to a fraction activity where students determine which models represent one-fourth of the whole. You can see how square C will likely trick students, especially at the very beginning of the fraction unit.

In a different activity, students determine what is one more and two more than two-thirds. Then the determine what is one less and two less than two-thirds. This seems so simple, but you’ll find that it will really challenge students’ thinking about fractions.

The count the room activity also focuses on fractions. Like working with whole numbers these fraction activities will progressively get more challenging.

Math Check-Ups

The math check-ups review the very basics. These are particularly useful this week, because I finally have plenty of time for extensive small group instruction.

Math Centers

This week I introduce new math centers. These centers do not focus on fractions, because I am just introducing fractions. I try to teach fractions through a lot of problem solving and discovery learning, so I don’t want to jump ahead to adding fractions to centers.

Division Lessons

These lessons are in addition to my regular math lessons. It’s a fun, yet challenging, culminating project that incorporates multiplication and division.

In this activity, students are invited to enter a house in a holiday decorating contest. Students first select one of five different houses to decorate. They must determine how many feet of lights they need/want for their decorations. To calculate this, students measure the portions of their house they want to add lights.  Students then purchase all of their decorating materials from The Exterior Illumination Specialist.

All contestants (students) must submit a plan that accurately shows how their decoration budget is spent. They also create a plan for their design. The plan should show student measurements so confirm the exact length of lights needed. The plan must also show the desired location of each additional decorative feature.


All contestants must submit a final version of the decorated house. The house must be colored neatly with crayon. All decorations listed in the budget must be included in the final design. However, no additional lighting or decorations may be included.

You can find this Christmas Math Project here.

Division Assessment

After a week of small group instruction, I am able to end the week with our division assessment. Once again, there are many options that you can use for your summative assessments.

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