Does your creative child struggle with math? Why don’t you teach your child division using construction paper, art history and their favorite books? They’d be thrilled, right?

Explore teaching division to your little artists with these art-based learning projects.

An artistic approach to division not only engages the imaginative child, it fosters important mathematical learning goals. Experts increasingly talk about “number sense,” which cannot be fostered by memorization and rote learning. According to Jo Boaler writing for Scientific American, “The foundation all math students need is number sense– essentially a feel for numbers, with the agility to use them flexibly and creatively.”

In other words, developing number sense is not just about solving 20 division problems. It involves flexible–even playful–engagement with division. Putting this advice into action, these five projects embed division skills in creative play, art projects and innovative activities.

1. Petal Power with Division Flowers: Use Paper Plates to Get Division Help

Paper plates are made with numerous perforations around their edges making them ideal for learning division. Use them to make flowers divided into four, five, six or more petals. To get started, have your child count the number of perforations on the plate, divide by the number of petals the flower will have (remember, you may have to decide what to do with the remainder), then begin cutting and decorating.

2. Cubism is Made for Division: Learning Division with Graph Paper

Unleash the creative and analytical power of graph paper with the art movement called Cubism. This project can engage division in a number of ways and is good for teaching division to different ages. For example, your younger kids can make a box on the graph paper and count the squares. Divide by the number of colors you want to use and begin coloring. For older kids, give them a bigger challenge. Count the number of squares in a row. Then roll dice to determine the number of colors for each row. Roll a one and the whole row is one color. Roll a six, chose six colors, and do the math. See what cubist creation your division activity makes!

3. Division with a Side of Fruit: The Dainties of Tea Time as Division Resources

Division help is only a pot of tea away! Throwing a tea party can engage your sons and daughters in a tasty division activity. After you have picked the number of guests and set out the tea cups, use division skills to figure out the rest of the party. Count up and divide cookies, crackers, sugar cubes, and fruit. Measure the hot water and boil exactly the right amount for the total guests. Divide a recipe for whipped cream so you make only enough for one dollop per plate.

4. Division for Book Lovers

Transform your child’s favorite book into division resources. Ask, how often does your favorite letter or word occur in this book? For younger readers, ask them to pick their favorite letter to find out how often it occurs on the page. Count the total letters on the page and then the number of times their letter shows up and solve the division problem. Keep going by trying different letters and comparing your results across different pages. For older readers who like books with lots of text, you can count the number of words on a page and pick common or rare words. You could incorporate estimation skills into the version for older kids, asking them to guess how many times a theme word occurs on a page.

5. B-I-N-G-O: Use Division to Make and Play Bingo

Need an idea for your young gamer? Use the popular game of Bingo to solve division problems on flash cards. The flash cards help you create the boards and then call out numbers during play. More detailed directions for this Bingo game can be found among these activities for teaching division.


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