Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Literally Walk through Long Division

Although Will seems to understand the concept behind long division just fine (we'll nevertheless still continue to go over it amply, rest assured), she just can't seem to keep the steps in her head, so I thought we'd mix it up a bit and get that whole body learning going by moving the lesson outside.

I wrote a GIANT long division problem on our driveway, and then literally walked Will through it. Will started by standing on the divisor, and then walked across the dividend until she reached a place where the divisor would fit. Then she walked straight up to write down that portion of the quotient, walked back to the divisor to multiply, then walked down to write the product. Then she subtracted to find the remainder:

She walked up again to find the next digit of the dividend to bring down, and so on:

Most kids would probably think that this was a fun activity (Syd watched the whole thing eagerly, practically vibrating as she tried to figure out a way that she could participate), but Will haaaaaaated it! It took too long, required too much effort, she had to bend down to write, etc. etc. Before she'd finished the above problem, in fact, her grousing reached such a level that I gave her the official verdict of Bad Attitude.

You may already know, but in our family, if you complete your entire day's schoolwork with a Good Attitude, you earn yourself a solid hour of screen time afterwards. If, instead, you display a Bad Attitude, you earn no screen time, and I tell your father when he gets home from work and he frowns at you and gives you the same lecture over again. You do not like it.

Anyway, this was Monday, and during yesterday's math, which was supposed to be an easy review of some stuff she learned last week, I saw that Will was having an awful lot of trouble with the "find the missing factor" part of division. She'd be presented with an easy division problem, say 84/9, and would just start wildly guessing what factor multiplied by nine would come the closest to 84 without going over. Three? Seven? 

So today, instead of our regularly scheduled Math Mammoth, we're going to have multiplication boot camp, reviewing the multiplication facts and reviewing them again when presented as missing factor problems. 

If only you could literally beat the multiplication tables into someone's head, sigh. I know you can't, so I won't try, and also that would be wrong, but if only...

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