Friday, November 11, 2011

Teaching Long Division

Growing up, math was not my favourite subject and in our family, like mother, like daughter. Elnora will write stories, compose poems, make up new languages and new alphabet symbols, draw pictures to her heart's content, learn her science, love her history but when math time rolls around, somehow, she just is not quite so enthusiastic.

I have caught her using math regularly in her day to day life and often remind her of the fact when she wonders why she has to do math. For us, Math-U-See has worked very well. While Elnora still does not really like math, she understands it quite well. For this, I do not credit my fine teaching skills but must give credit where credit is due so let's have a round of applause for:


For those of you who have a child like Elnora, I would like to share a strategy I used besides Math-U-See to help her master long division. As Steve Demme, the developer of our math program says, place value is an extremely important concept for children to master if you want them to understand math. Elnora had a tough time with a typical long division problem written this way:
5 | 345   She could not figure out where to begin to write her answer and how to keep everything in order even though she uses graph paper to work out her problems.

Remembering Steve Demme's sage advice, I colour coded the problems like this:
5 | 345

This helped her to see the hundreds, tens, and ones. I then coloured each column and told her to do the problem. When she finished it looked like this:

5 | 345

I don't know my keyboard well enough to create all the lines but you get the general idea. Elnora only needed to do about 6 problems this way before she caught on.

Do any of you have ideas for teaching certain math concepts? Happy teaching!

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