November 28, 2011

Division Fun...with cookies!

Do you hate teaching division?  For me, it is second only to fractions (aka my personal math teaching HELL).  My students really struggle with the concept of division at first because in general they are severely lacking in their number sense foundation, not to mention their basic facts.  To help ease into division, I like to kick off the unit with a fun, hands-on lesson each year featuring, wait for it, COOKIES!  Well, Cookie Crisp cereal to be exact.  Still good.

For this lesson, I give each kid a small cup of Cookie Crisp cereal, a dry erase board, and an expo marker.  I then read aloud the book The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins.
In this simple picture book, kids have to continuously divide up a batch of cookies as more and more friends ring the doorbell.  We start with 12 "cookies" out.  On the first page, the cookies only need to be divided between two siblings.  We first divide the cookies, then write the division problem to answer the question, "How many cookies does each kid get to eat?"  12 / 2 = 6. Easy!  I pause after each page to have my kiddos solve the next division problem after more kids have arrived.
The kids love this amazing activity, and it is a great way to explain the concept of division with a real-life connection.  Everyone can relate to sharing something with friends!  After finishing the book, I have the kids take different numbers of cookies out to help solve other simple division problems.  It's also easy to make the connection back to multiplication at this point by skip counting each group of cookies to get back to the total.  

Oh the best part?  Afterwards you will likely have half a box of Cookie Crisp in your supply closet to help fight your after school munchies... ;)


  1. We are teaching this right now in 6th grade... its painful the kids are so intimidated by it. Throw a decimal in there and you would think we are asking them to do surgery. I forgot all about this book! I must pull it out of the library this week!

  2. I am definitely doing this! I love it.

  3. Great Idea - so much fun! My kids are in 3rd and 5th but I bet they'd have fun doing it at home (esp. if I let them eat it afterwards!)

  4. Hi Amy!
    I found your blog a few months ago and recently re-discovered it. I'm applying to MEd programs and hope to make a career change over to elementary teaching. I love your blog! In addition to having similar interests, I think some of your stories are helping me to create a more realistic vision of what teaching will be like.
    - Lauren from VA

  5. What an amazing lesson! I'm totally snaffling this :)



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