EL Support Lesson

Details of Division

Teach your students the vocabulary words to accurately discuss division equations, and then challenge them to write their own word problems! Use this lesson independently or as a pre-lesson for *Divide it Up!*
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Divide it Up! lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Divide it Up! lesson plan.

Students will be able to construct solutions to solve simple division problems. Students will be able to explain and defend how they generated answers for division problems.


Students will be able to create word problems for division equations and explain their answers using content-specific vocabulary and peer supports.

(3 minutes)
  • Write a word problem (e.g., "There are 24 desks that we need to put into groups of four. How many desks should be in each group?") on the board and ask students to write the equation on their whiteboards.
  • Instruct students to turn and discuss how they knew the equation based on the word problem. Listen closely for students' use of mathematical terminology, such as dividend, divisor, quotient, and division.
  • Go over the student-friendly Language Objective, and have students repeat it aloud.
(7 minutes)
  • Tell the class that they must know specific vocabulary words as they speak about division.
  • Go over the tiered words by displaying the Vocabulary Cards on the document camera.
  • Use the example problem from the Introduction to point out an example of the dividend (24 desks), divisor (four groups), quotient (six desks). Explain that the process of division is when we separate something into equal groups. Sometimes a problem will ask us to find the number in each group or the number of groups. Point out that the example problem asked us to find the number in each group.
  • Distribute a set of Vocabulary Cards to each student. Encourage them to reference the cards throughout the lesson as they discuss division and create word problems based on an equation.
(8 minutes)
  • Tell the class that you are going to guide them through creating a problem to match the equation. Tell them that it will be necessary to review the vocabulary words in order to use them correctly in the word problem.
  • Write a division equation (e.g., 30 ÷ 5 = ?) on the board and call on students to identify the vocabulary word that refers to each of the numbers. Ask questions to prompt discussion, and provide sentence supports:
    • Which number represents the dividend and how do you know? (The ____ is the dividend because ____.)
    • Which number represents the divisor and how do you know? (The ____ is the divisor because ____.)
    • How can you find the quotient? (We can find the quotient by ____.)
  • Guide the class through creating a problem together. Make suggestions if students struggle to come up with a context, and get students discussing the quotient and what it means in regards to the problem. (e.g., In the example problem in the Introduction, the quotient is six. The six represents the number of desks in each group.)
(15 minutes)
  • Tell learners that they are going to look at an equation on the board with no labels. Share that they will write a word problem to correspond to the division equation. Then, they will get into partnerships and look at each other's problems. They will discuss how their word problems are related and make any necessary corrections.
  • Write the equation 56 ÷ 7 = ? on the board.
  • Give students time to write a word problem in their math journal or on a blank piece of paper. Remind them to reference their Vocabulary Cards as needed.
  • Pair students together and have them share their word problems with each other. Instruct each student to explain how parts in their partner's story correspond to specific parts of the mathematical representation. (e.g., Partners will explain what the seven means in their partner's story.) Tell students that they can ask clarifying questions or for more detail as they work with their partners.
  • Instruct individuals to return to their own word problem and make any changes they feel are necessary. Challenge them to add details or clarification where needed.
  • Call on volunteers to share their problems and invite the class to discuss the parts of the word problems that correspond to the equation. Remind students to use the vocabulary words as they share.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide a word bank of key terms and phrases for students to use in group and class discussions.
  • Group students intentionally based on academic and language needs.
  • Allow students to include words and pictures to support their explanation of their learning on the Exit Ticket.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Have students describe their math processes without relying on the sentence stems/frames.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(4 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card for the Exit Ticket. Tell them that they will complete a sentence frame based on their learning about division throughout the lesson.
  • Write the sentence frame "I used to think ____, but now I know ____." on the board.
(3 minutes)
  • Have students turn to a partner to share their Exit Ticket. Then, call on volunteers to share with the whole class.
  • Remind the class that understanding the vocabulary words helps them better understand what a division problem is asking of them. With a strong foundation in mathematical vocabulary, solving equations and word problems is easier to do!

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