Unit Division

Daisy is beginning to get excited about some of the elementary works and wants to work with the same materials as Fungirl. Because we’re at home, we’re making that work. A few days ago I had an idea that I wanted to get her started on the unit division board. We were standing over by our materials and she asked for a test-tube division lesson. Perfect! I pulled out the unit rack of beads – the board and skittles are both shared materials here anyway, and we set to work.

Unit Division Booklet

Since I’d had the idea to introduce this to her, I’d prepared my Unit Division booklet. (Side note: I just bought the Cinch binding machine, and I was SO excited to use it for this! Haha!) My manuals (KotU) suggest introducing this material beginning with division of 27 because it shows a variety of outcomes.

setting up the board

We flipped to page 27 in the book, and got going! Daisy counted 27 beads into a little cup. She then counted out 9 skittles and placed them across the top. I made my own skittles from little wooden peg dolls. They don’t fit in the holes so we just place them behind. Daisy then shared the 27 beads out amongst the 9 skittles. The beads very quickly became spinach muffins shared between hungry squirrels.

After we shared all the beads out, we noticed that each unit skittle got 3 beads, with no beads left over. Daisy noted this in her book, then drew a red line underneath to show that that this equation came out without remainders.

We cleared the board, clearing all the beads back into the cup. We removed a skittle and shared the 27 beads out between 8 skittles. Daisy wrote down that each skittle received 3 beads and I showed her how to write down the remainder.

We cleared the board again and repeated the process for 7 skittles.

We cleared the board one more time and repeated the process for 6 skittles. It was starting to get tedious at this point, but I promised Daisy I had a little trick to show her once she finished this one up.

You would continue this process of returning all the beads to the cup, removing one skittle and sharing them all out again as long as you feel the child needs to understand that the same amount of beads are being shared out each time. Daisy has done a lot of “division around the house” – sharing food out among family members, etc. so we were ready to move on. We talked about the fact that there are always 27 beads on the board no matter the layout. We removed one skittle, leaving only 5 left. We took the beads that used to belong to the 6th skittle, and placed only those in our cup, then shared out amongst the remaining 5 skittles.

We noted the result, removed the 5th skittle, this time taking just the beads in the 5th column beads and placing them in the bead cup. She shared those among the remaining 4 skittles.

We repeated the process one more time, sharing among three skittles. Another divisor that comes out even! Daisy was thrilled to be able to draw another red line under this equation.

I asked Daisy to remove the 3rd skittle, and place the beads from the third column back in the cup. She quickly discovered that she couldn’t share these beads out – the board was full! I told her I would show her something new and drew a wiggly line through the equation. We cannot complete 27 divided by 2 on the unit division board, so we don’t worry about it. I asked her if she’d be able to give all the beads to 1 skittle and she said no, so she got to draw a wiggly line through that equation! This may have been the most fun part of the work!

We stopped for the day there, but the next day Daisy wanted to work again, and we worked through division of 51. This will be an ongoing work for her. I haven’t decided how much or when I will require work on this yet. At the moment, I just want her to understand that dividing is sharing out evenly, and seeing that sometimes numbers share out evenly, and sometimes we have remainders.

You can pick up a copy of my Unit Division Booklet here!