Talk the Talk of Division: Recognizing "Division" Words in One Step Word Problems

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SWBAT solve one step word problems by recognizing key words, developing equations with variables and solving.

Big Idea

Students collaborate in teams to decide if vocabulary words would be dividing words or multiplication words. They apply what they learn form the experience to take apart word problems, develop equations with variables and then solve.

Multiply or Divide? Which word is it?

15 minutes

Materials: Word Cards  Key Word Document, tape on the back, and a place to post them.

Warm Up: The objective of this warm up is to decide if the card they are holding in their hands is a division word or a multiplication word. The purpose of this warm up is to get them thinking about language and opening up their minds to identifying key words in future word problems.

Students each received a word card that they discussed within their group of three to four. They had to decide as a team if they were going to post it on the division side of the room or the multiplication side. I heard a lot of engaged chatter as I roved around the room listening for their reasoning and thinking as they decided which wall to put their words on. I told them that when they decided, they should tape the word card to the side of the room that they thought it belonged on.

I had chosen a place right on our pet tortoises's big glass tank for a nice word wall. I chose that for the division word side because I know they are always looking at Ringo and their eyes would be now looking at division words more often. Clever, huh? The multiplication word side was on the white board on the opposite wall.

I had a chance to capture some of the discussions as they debated and reasoned their choices. The questioning reasoning and dialogue that went on helps support MP 3 as they critique each other's reasoning and then have to explain it to me. How did you decide that meant division? I use questioning to exercise their metacognitive reasoning. Deciding which word goes where involves sorting out our prior knowledge. I like how in this movie we can see how this process evolves.Monthly means divide &Share means divide shows us how these words are thought about and how prior knowledge kicks in.

Defending our Choices

10 minutes

Ringo's tank serves as our division word wall

When everyone had placed their word cards on either side of the room, I went to the multiplication side first and pulled a card, one at a time. I said the words aloud and asked who had placed the card on the wall. The group stood up and I asked them to tell us why they made that choice. One example was the word "of". It was on the right side, but when I asked why they had chosen the word, they told me that they guessed. This dialogue helped me asses their true understanding of the words. So, I explained what of meant and wrote an example on the whiteboard using 1/3 of 12 equals 4. Another student piped up and said he still thought it was division because we divided. I stopped and wrote the equation 1/3 x12 = 1/3 x 12/1 = 12/3    12/3 = 4 showed him why he thought "of" meant division.

Valuable bantering back and forth that went on about each word. We finished the multiplication side and then I wandered over to Ringo's tank and started the same process with  each of division word cards. For the most part, students were right in their choices and their enthusiasm for learning their vocabulary was in full gear.

Putting the words into practice

20 minutes

SB File for The Language of Division

The Language of Division SB File

It was time to put into practice the words we had just practiced. I opened up the SB file as students attentively sat in their desks with their notebooks. I opened up the first page of the notebook and explained that we needed to "talk the talk" in order to understand how to solve word problems.

We worked through each word problem on the SB file and discussed the key words.

How did we know it meant to divide? Students used the word wall as we solved. We tapped on our old strategies using a K ( What do I know? ) W ( What do they want to know?) and Solve ( What is our situation and how do we write and equation to solve it using a variable?) To satisfy standards about writing equations with variables for word problems, I insist that every word problem has an equation with a variable. Setting up the equation demonstrates me questioning and reminding them that it is necessary to write an equation to solve and that we needed the key word to determine the equation. I keep emphasizing that the equation serves as the map for the solution and it is essential to focus on it.

We took turns writing on the SB as we went. The last two pages were problems where remainders had to be interpreted. The mini van problem was easy for them because they could envision getting left on the curb. Of course we would order another mini van! The ribbon one was more difficult for them to perceive. The leftover ribbon should be included somehow. It was hard for them to accept that it was not going to work and that it would be thrown away. This experience showed me that their logical real life thinking could be tapped on and they they would be able to visualize their word problems.

When we completed solving problems together, I told them that the next step would be to practice independently.

Homework and Practice

15 minutes

Students were ready to independently practice.  I assigned them all math, but at different levels. Above grade level achieving students logged onto level G and did H.4 Dividing by multi-digit numbers by one digit word problems. The other students were assigned level F E.5. All students were expected to show work by setting up KWS charts, creating an equation with a variable and dividing using the box method.Even though we are using a computer website that is about just entering in the answer, to support CCSS and the whole thinking, show me your understanding and prove mastery of the standard, I expect to see evidence of thinking through these methods.

We all worked for about 15 minutes. I pulled a few struggling students to the back table and worked with them on their IXL helping them find their way through understanding the key words and explaining how they knew it was a division problem, besides the fact that IXL tells you!