Division is a tricky concept, but when you add in dividing decimals, I can see my elementary student’s mind exploding! Personally, I love using guided math to help my students go from novices to experts.
Guided math is a style of teaching where students’ level of difficulty and support shifts through the lesson. Typically, as students move through the content and the lesson, the difficulty will increase and the support will decrease. However, student’s aren’t left there struggling. Differentiated small groups are used to support students, so that they are ready for more challenging content. If you are searching for adding and subtracting decimals, check out this blog post here!
Here is how I use guided math to teach dividing decimals.
Whole Group Lesson
To begin, I teach the entire class a diving decimals concept for the day. These mini-lessons should be short and sweet. You want to give your students an overview of the topic, and maybe complete a few practice problems together. However, this isn’t where students will master the concept – you just want to make them familiar with the concept.
For example, my decimal patterns lesson starts with a review of place value and multiplying decimals. Then, I show them a few problems on dividing decimals. We compare the two and talk through it together.
Small Group Activities
Next comes the small group. This is where you will meet your students’ needs and address any issues students may have with the concept. I like to organize my small groups by remediate, on-level, and above level. While you work with small groups, your other students will work in centers (check out my ideas below).
Each group will focus on a similar task. For decimal patterns, the task is looking at division task cards and working through problems. The remedial group will review the rules of dividing with zeros and use loops under the problem to find the answer, while the above level group will try to work on mentally completing the problem.
Classwork & Homework
Independent practice comes next and is very valuable for you as a teacher. These independent work times allow you to see what your students are capable of, and you can address mistakes you see in your small group the next day.
I like to keep independent work pretty simple. Students will get a practice sheet with problems from our decimal division lesson.
If this dividing decimals guided math unit sounds like something that would benefit your students, take a look at my ready-to-go guided math lessons here. It includes seven dividing decimal lessons to help your students master the skill. Each lesson includes a lesson plan, small group work, independent work, homework, and an exit ticket. You can get those guided math lessons here.
While you work in small groups, your students will work in centers! Here are some dividing decimal centers to get you started.
Notebook Sorts – Math sorts are a great way to make notes and reference materials engaging. Instead of sticking a pre-done anchor chart in a journal, students complete the sort to build their math notes! These can easily be done in centers. Check out my print-and-go dividing decimal sort here.
Digital Practice – I like to use computers doing centers because I can easily monitor what my students are doing. For this reason, Google Slides and Google Forms are my favorite for centers! Not to mention, Google Forms will grade itself and give you instant feedback on your students. Win-win. I have a decimal division self-checking quiz and dividing decimals Google Slides already made.