Dividing by Fractions ... with Graham Crackers!

What You Need:

  • Graham Crackers (whole can be divided into 2 parts)
  • Lined paper
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. First, have your child predict what he thinks 1 divided by ½ is. With a little help from a graham cracker, invite him to find out if he's correct.
  2. Hand over a whole graham cracker to your child. Explain that this is one graham cracker, so it represents the number 1.
  3. Then, have him divide the graham cracker in half by bending it down the middle. After it splits, ask him to count how many graham cracker pieces there now are.
  4. After he responds that there are two, say “That's correct. 1 divided by ½ is 2.” He may looked puzzled, since most division problem answers or quotients are usually smaller than the dividend, which in this case was 1.
  5. Now, ask your child to predict what 2 divided by ½ is.
  6. After your child responds, have him set the broken graham cracker aside and hand him two more. Explain that now he has two graham crackers, representing the number 2.
  7. Then, have him divide the graham crackers in half by bending them and splitting them down the middle. After they split, ask your child how many pieces there are.
  8. After he responds that there are 4 pieces, say, “That's correct. 2 divided by ½ equals 4.”
  9. Next, explain how to divide whole numbers by fractions without using graham crackers. Multiply the whole number by the fraction that has been reversed. 1 divided by 1/2; 1 X 2/1 = 2, or 1/1 x 2/1 = 2/1, which equals 2. Remind him that any whole number is equivalent to that number, over 1.
  10. Have your child try a few problems on lined paper. For example, 3 divided by 1/4 is 3 X 4 = 12. 4 divided by 1/4; 4 X 4 = 16, 5 divided by 1/3; 5 X 3 =15.

Finally, celebrate your child's new math concept with a yummy snack of sweet graham crackers! Try practicing some more math during snack time.

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