In Year 1, your child will begin to understand division as sharing and grouping. There are many easy ways you can support this at home.
Ask your child to practise division by sharing objects equally.For example, 8 ÷ 2 could be solved by sharing 8 objects into 2 equal groups. Using objects such as your child’s toys, items of food, or buttons helps them visualise what the calculation means and keeps them interested.
Ask your child to find out how many objects there are to begin with. Can they share the objects equally between the two of you? Help them to share objects one at a time between the two groups. When all the objects have been shared, ask your child how many there are in each group. If you have the same number, explain that your child has shared the objects equally into two groups which is the same as dividing by two.
If you do not have the same number, ask your child if the objects have been shared equally. For example, ‘we started with 11 objects and shared them into two groups and I have 6 objects and you have 5 objects. Are they equal? If they are not equal then 11 cannot be shared equally into two groups so 11 cannot be divided by 2 equally using whole numbers or objects.’
It’s important that your child also understands division as grouping. Again, you can use any objects from around your home to practise division as grouping.
Ask your child to find out how many there are in a group of objects. Explain to them that you want to find out how many groups of two there are in the total group. Help your child to take two items at a time and count how many groups of two there are in the total number.
For example, if you had 8 objects and wanted to divide by grouping this could be seen as ‘How many groups of 2 are there in 8?’. Ask and support your child to explain that they have divided the 8 objects by grouping them in twos and finding out how many groups of 2 there are in the total group of 8 objects.
It’s helpful to be able to use the language of multiplication and division when talking with your child, because being able to reason and communicate mathematically is one of the main aims of the National Curriculum. It also makes it much easier for your child to understand calculations when they are learning in school.
Multiplication language includes multiply, times, repeated addition, equal groups, and arrays. Division language includes divide, sharing equally, grouping equally, and arrays. You can help your child learn these terms by asking them to use this language to explain how they have solved a problem. It may be helpful to have the mathematical words written on cards and to ask your child to use some of the words in their explanations.