One common mistake students make when dividing fractions using visuals is the confusion between remainder and the fractional part of a mixed number answer.
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This is the first of two fraction division tasks that use similar contexts to highlight the difference between the ŇNumber of Groups UnknownÓ a.k.a. ŇHow many groups?Ó (Variation 1) and ŇGroup Size UnknownÓ a.k.a. ŇHow many in each group?Ó (Variation 2) division problems.
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This task could be used in instructional activities designed to build understandings of fraction division. With teacher guidance, it could be used to develop knowledge of the common denominator approach and the underlying rationale.
Students explore whether multiplying by a number always results in a greater number. Students explore whether dividing by a number always results in a smaller number.Key ConceptsIn early grades, students learn that multiplication represents the total when several equal groups are combined. For this reason, some students think that multiplying always “makes things bigger.” In this lesson, students will investigate the case where a number is multiplied by a factor less than 1.Students are introduced to division in early grades in the context of dividing a group into smaller, equal groups. In whole number situations like these, the quotient is smaller than the starting number. For this reason, some students think that dividing always “makes things smaller.” In this lesson, students will investigate the case where a number is divided by a divisor less than 1.Goals and Learning ObjectivesDetermine when multiplying a number by a factor gives a result greater than the number and when it gives a result less than the number.Determine when dividing a number by a divisor gives a result greater than the number and when it gives a result less than the number.
Fractions and Decimals
Type of Unit: Concept
Students should be able to:
Multiply and divide whole numbers and decimals.
Multiply a fraction by a whole number.
Multiply a fraction by another fraction.
Write fractions in equivalent forms, including converting between improper fractions and mixed numbers.
Understand the meaning and structure of decimal numbers.
This unit extends students’ learning from Grade 5 about operations with fractions and decimals.
The first lesson informally introduces the idea of dividing a fraction by a fraction. Students are challenged to figure out how many times a 14-cup measuring cup must be filled to measure the ingredients in a recipe. Students use a variety of methods, including adding 14 repeatedly until the sum is the desired amount, and drawing a model. In Lesson 2, students focus on dividing a fraction by a whole number. They make a model of the fraction—an area model, bar model, number line, or some other model—and then divide the model into whole numbers of groups. Students also work without a model by looking at the inverse relationship between division and multiplication. Students explore methods for dividing a whole number by a fraction in Lesson 3, for dividing a fraction by a unit fraction in Lesson 4, and for dividing a fraction by another fraction in Lesson 6. Students examine several methods and models for solving such problems, and use models to solve similar problems.
Students apply their learning to real-world contexts in Lesson 6 as they solve word problems that require dividing and multiplying mixed numbers. Lesson 7 is a Gallery lesson in which students choose from a number of problems that reinforce their learning from the previous lessons.
Students review the standard long-division algorithm for dividing whole numbers in Lesson 8. They discuss the different ways that an answer to a whole number division problem can be expressed (as a whole number plus a remainder, as a mixed number, or as a decimal). Students then solve a series of real-world problems that require the same whole number division operation, but have different answers because of how the remainder is interpreted.
Students focus on decimal operations in Lessons 9 and 10. In Lesson 9, they review addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with decimals. They solve decimal problems using mental math, and then work on a card sort activity in which they must match problems with diagram and solution cards. In Lesson 10, students review the algorithms for the four basic decimal operations, and use estimation or other methods to place the decimal points in products and quotients. They solve multistep word problems involving decimal operations.
In Lesson 11, students explore whether multiplication always results in a greater number and whether division always results in a smaller number. They work on a Self Check problem in which they apply what they have learned to a real-world problem. Students consolidate their learning in Lesson 12 by critiquing and improving their work on the Self Check problem from the previous lesson. The unit ends with a second set of Gallery problems that students complete over two lessons.
This is a task from the Illustrative Mathematics website that is one part of a complete illustration of the standard to which it is aligned. Each task has at least one solution and some commentary that addresses important aspects of the task and its potential use. Here are the first few lines of the commentary for this task: Alysha really wants to ride her favorite ride at the amusement park one more time before her parents pick her up at 2:30 pm. There is a very long line ...
It is much easier to visualize division of fraction problems with contexts where the quantities involved are continuous. It makes sense to talk about a fraction of an hour. The context suggests a linear diagram, so this is a good opportunity for students to draw a number line or a double number line to solve the problem.
These problems are meant to be a progression which require more sophisticated understandings of the meaning of fractions as students progress through them.
Students use models and the idea of dividing as making equal groups to divide a fraction by a whole number.SWD: Some students with disabilities will benefit from a preview of the goals in each lesson. Students can highlight the critical features or concepts in order to help them pay close attention to salient information.Key ConceptsWhen we divide a whole number by a whole number n, we can think of making n equal groups and finding the size of each group. We can think about dividing a fraction by a whole number in the same way.8 ÷ 4 = 2 When we make 4 equal groups, there are 2 wholes in each group.89÷4=29 When we make 4 equal groups, there are 2 ninths in each group.When the given fraction cannot be divided into equal groups of unit fractions, we can break each unit fraction part into smaller parts to form an equivalent fraction.34 ÷ 6 = ? 68 ÷ 6 = ? 68 ÷ 6 = 18 Students see that, in general, we can divide a fraction by a whole number by dividing the numerator by the whole number. Note that this is consistent with the “multiply by the reciprocal” method.ab÷n=a÷nb=anb=an×1b=an×b=ab×1nGoals and Learning ObjectivesUse models to divide a fraction by a whole number.Learn general methods for dividing a fraction by a whole number without using a model.
Students explore methods for dividing a whole number by a fraction.Key ConceptsIn earlier grades, students learned to think of a whole number division problem, such as 8 ÷ 4, in terms of two types of equal groups.Divisor as the Number of Groups Divide 8 into 4 equal groups and find the size of each group.Divisor as the Group Size Divide 8 into groups of 4 and find the number of groups.To divide a fraction by a whole number in Lesson 2, students used the first interpretation. For example, to find 89 ÷ 4, they divided 8 ninths into 4 equal groups and found that there were 2 ninths in each group.To divide a whole number by a fraction, the second interpretation is most helpful. For example, to find 3 ÷ 34, we find the number of groups of 3 fourths in 3 wholes. The diagram in the Opening shows that there are 4 groups, so 3 ÷ 34 = 4.Just as with whole number division, the quotient when a whole number is divided by a fraction is not always a whole number. Below is a model for 2 ÷ 35. The model shows that there are 3 groups of 3 fifths in 2 wholes plus 13 of another group (13 of a group of 3 fifths is 1 fifth). Therefore, 2 ÷ 35 = 313. Notice that once we have divided the 2 wholes into fifths, we are finding the number of groups of 3 fifths in 10 fifths. This is simply 10 ÷ 3.These models can help explain that the “multiply by the reciprocal” method of dividing a whole number by a fraction works. To find 2 ÷ 35, we can multiply 2 by 5 to find the total number of fifths in 2 and then divide the result (10) by 3 to find the number of groups of 3 of these fifths in 2. So, 2÷35=2×53=2×53.ELL: Encourage students to verbalize their explanations. To help students gain confidence and increase their understanding, allow those that share the same language of origin to speak in small groups using their prefered language.Goals and Learning ObjectivesUse models and other methods to divide a whole number by a fraction.
Students explore methods of dividing a fraction by a unit fraction.Key ConceptsIn this lesson and in Lesson 5, students explore dividing a fraction by a fraction.In this lesson, we focus on the case in which the divisor is a unit fraction. Understanding this case makes it easier to see why we can divide by a fraction by multiplying by its reciprocal. For example, finding 34÷15 means finding the number of fifths in 34. In this lesson, students will see that this is 34 × 5.Students learn and apply several methods for dividing a fraction by a unit fraction, such as 23÷14.Model 23. Change the model and the fractions in the problem to twelfths: 812÷312. Then find the number of groups of 3 twelfths in 8 twelfths. This is the same as finding 8 ÷ 3.Reason that since there are 4 fourths in 1, there must be 23 × 4 fourths in 23. This is the same as using the multiplicative inverse.Rewrite both fractions so they have a common denominator: 23÷14=812÷312. The answer is the quotient of the numerators. This is the numerical analog to modeling.Goals and Learning ObjectivesUse models and other methods to divide fractions by unit fractions
This supplemental resource provides problems and activities related to Numerical and Algebraic Operations & Analytical Thinking in Middle School Mathematics.
In Module 1, students used their existing understanding of multiplication and division as they began their study of ratios and rates. In Module 2, students complete their understanding of the four operations as they study division of whole numbers, division by a fraction and operations on multi-digit decimals. This expanded understanding serves to complete their study of the four operations with positive rational numbers, thereby preparing students for understanding, locating, and ordering negative rational numbers (Module 3) and algebraic expressions (Module 4).
The purpose of this task is to help students explore the meaning of fraction division and to connect it to what they know about whole-number division.