Sharing Maybe?

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Students will be able to solve a multi-step word problem using division, multiplication, and addition.

Big Idea

Students will love celebrating the learning of division, while working on a multiple step problem about sharing cookies.

Warm Up

5 minutes

I have found that my students LOVE themed lessons.  Ever since we began this unit with "The Doorbell Rang" by Pat Hutchins, we have talked about cookies in our math stories, as well as other objects.  Now, with the launch of site and this classroom celebration of our hard work in division, I decide to bake some cookies and "share them…maybe"! 

First, I share this video of the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, to create some excitement in the room. (You'll get the lesson title!) You won't need to show the whole thing, but you may because the kids love it, and the ending is sweet.

Active Engagement

20 minutes

I explain to the children that I have baked some cookies, and would share them…maybe, if they could work together to solve the following situation. I set up this situation to mirror our classroom, with a total of 18 students.  If you choose to do this, you may want to change your numbers to fit your classroom so the students get equal shares!

I was pleased with how quickly the children were able to figure out what they needed to do in this multiple step problem. Those steps are:

  • Calculate the equal group size
  • Calculate each table's total share size
  • Add all tables together


When I put the story up at first, I just show the kids the word problem and wait. Within seconds, they are asking, "How many students?  How many cookies? How many did they each get?" And of course one of my jokesters asked, "What kind?" This was music to my ears, as it proved the students were making sense of a problem in order to solve, which is Mathematical Practice 1!

Then, I show them the tables. One has a 12 in the center.  I tell students that number represents the tray of cookies on that table and the small circles are the chairs.

At this point a student asks, "Why didn't you just do 3 tables of 6?"  Good question!  I let the children know that in my experiences, everyone at parties moves around, even when you put equal numbers of chairs out. So this model represents how the "guests" ended up arranging themselves.

Right away someone says he knows how many cookies each student got!  I didn't ask how many, but I asked how he knew.  He relates to the class that he divided 12 by the 6 chairs. They were off and at work quickly after that!

In this video, my student explains how she is able to find the number of cookies that needed to be at each table. She modeled her math well and was able to express her thinking. 

This child is able to explain to me how he found the totals for each table and then began writing more into his journal to clarify his thinking for me.  We continue to work on our journal responses to be as thorough as possible, which helps the children grow in their understanding and use of the Mathematical Practices. 

Celebration and COOKIES!

10 minutes

After sharing our strategies on the board with everyone, we have…COOKIES!  This is a great way to wrap up our unit for now on division. I have a small list of mini lessons that I will use as full lesson ideas, or as mid-workshop lessons. However, after a formal assessment, I think we will be ready to move on to fractions.