Saturday, October 22, 2016

[Pri1_20161021DIV] Labelling as a strategy for Division

          The Singapore mathematics syllabuses are very well designed, especially the primary school syllabus.  Fundamental concepts and skills are introduced before going on to complex calculations and problem solving.  At primary 1, pupils learn the idea of multiplication and division of small numbers by grouping (or partitioning).  They are not made to recite the times tables meaninglessly.
          Division is easy if the number of things in each group is known.  You just keep on circling the known number of objects until everything is circled.  However, if the number of groups is required but the number of things in each group is not given, and if the objects are not arranged in a convenient way, the task can be a bit more challenging.  Remember: they have not memorised the multiplication tables yet.

Problem / Question

Solution (Suggested)
          One way to solve this problem is to label the fish 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, ... in a cyclic fashion, assigning fish to each of the three friends one at a time, thereby ensuring that each person gets the same number of fish.  Start with “1” somewhere on the left, “3” on the right and “2” somewhere in the middle.  Assign the next “1” close to the previous “1”, the next “2” close to the previous “2” and the next “3” close to the previous “3”.  So all the 1s are close together, the 2s are close together and the 3s are close together.  After all the fish have been labelled, the partitioning (or grouping) becomes obvious.

H02. Use a diagram / model
H04. Look for pattern(s)
H09. Restate the problem in another way

Suitable Levels
Primary School / Elementary School Mathematics
* any precocious or independent learner who is interested

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