My second grader has been learning more about multiplication and division. As I was helping him one night, I was trying to teach him about multiplication and division being opposites and focused on how we group numbers together.
As a former teacher, it is exciting when I get to use activities I created for my students with my children. To help my son get comfortable with multiplication and division, I wanted to give him a hands-on way to visualize and manipulate the mathematical processes. A Remainder of One is a fantastic story that emphasizes these two concepts. I am excited to share it with you on Rainy Day Mum’s Storybook Summer Series this year!
I love finding children’s books that teach big concepts. We parents can support our children at home with great summer activities and after school lessons.
We have included links to the products and books used in this activity. If you buy from these links we may earn a small commission.
A Remainder of One: Hands-On Division Activity
Supplies: (affiliate links)
A Remainder of One storybook
Yarn, cut into 12 6-inch pieces
Hands-On Division Activity
1.Cut the yarn into 6-inch pieces and tie each piece together so you end up with 12 yarn circles.
2.Write (or type) the numbers 1,2,3,4,5 on paper, cut them apart and laminate (if desired) to make number cards.
3.Set the yarn circles and pompoms aside.
4.Read (affiliate link) A Remainder of One with your child.
5.Encourage your child to count out 25 “bugs” (pompoms) and place them in a line.
6.Re-read A Remainder of One, but pause after the bugs pair off in twos. Have your child group two “bugs” together by placing a yarn ring around each pair of bugs.
This is the hands-on division activity in process. I talked with my son while he was grouping the bugs in pairs explaining that he was dividing the 25 bugs by 2. I asked him, “How many groups of two do we have?” He counted the pairs and the remainder. He used this hands-on division activity to perform 25/2=12, with a remainder of 1.
7.Continue reading until the bugs divide by 3, and have your child group the ants again to show groups of 3 in each yarn circle.
Each time my son used this hands-on division activity to perform the division process, we discussed how many groups he had, and if he still had a remainder. We continued to read along in A Remainder of One pausing after each re-grouping exercise to work it out with the pompoms and yarn circles.
After this, my son used the number cards to line up the bugs in the same configurations that were mentioned in the book. He worked through a row at a time making sure each row was even (except for our poor remainder “bug”.)
I was not concerned with him mastering multiplication and division from this hands-on division activity. My goal was to get his hands moving, expose him to the vocabulary he would need to use and understand learning about multiplication and division. Ultimately I wanted him to have the visual process in his memory as a mnemonic device for later use.
Check out the Dinosaur tracks activity I shared during Storybook Summer 2015.
What is your favorite storybook for sharing multiplication or division concepts with your child?
Jaimi Erickson is a mom to four (2+twins), a military wife and former teacher.
She shares encouragement for moms, homemaking tips, and simple activities for kids on her blog The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide. Although her floors are often messy, she aims to find joy in this busy season of motherhood.