How to Introduce Division to Students with Ease

Teaching division to 2nd-grade students can seem like a daunting task, especially when it feels like they are just now getting the hang of regrouping… amiright?! However, with the right approach, division can be a fun and exciting concept to teach. You just need the right engaging strategies to introduce division to students easily.

To combat the initial hesitation, I would begin my division unit like I had a big secret for students. I play it up BIG and act like they are getting to do something that most kids won’t do until 3rd grade! Seriously going for the whole FOMO thing there. But it works! The hype helps students get excited from the get-go.

Excitement equals instant engagement and an eagerness to dive in. In return, I get attentive and locked in students. And since division can be a doozy, this is a requirement to begin the process of introducing division to students.

You can achieve this in your classroom too, with hands-on division activities and ideas that will help you effectively teach division to your 2nd-grade students!

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Introduce Division with a Division Anchor Chart

Introduce division anchor chart
Division anchor chart from Introduction to Division with Equal Groups, Division Word Problems, and Activities unit.

Before any independent activities began, I introduced Division Dan (and now Division Dina). Division Dan and Division Dina are VERY into splitting objects into equal groups. They like to be FAIR. As a class, you can create an anchor chart that models how we split objects into equal groups. I like to model this by passing things out evenly between groups. 

For instance, a word problem says “I have 15 stickers to give to 3 friends. How many stickers does each friend get?” So, I can bring 3 students up to the front of the room. I can have 15 stickers ready to go. I model passing out those 15 stickers to the students, going one at a time until I run out. This will show students how we evenly divide a set of objects among people or into groups.

You can play around with this in different ways using whatever you have on hand in the classroom. It’s a simple and easy way to initially introduce division to students.

Act Out Division Scenarios by Making Equal Groups 

Once students are ready to start practicing, I like to make it as hands-on as possible. Students acting out these scenarios will help them to comprehend the concept. 

Activity for acting out division scenarios by making equal groups with pipe cleaners and manipulatives.
Equal groups activiites from Introduction to Division with Equal Groups, Division Word Problems, and Activities unit.

Teaching division with manipulatives is a must to truly connect student comprehension. Did you know that pipe cleaners serve as great manipulatives to make easy and affordable equal groups? Simply twist a pipe cleaner into a circular shape. This will help define the groups rather than just grouping objects by themselves. 

Students determine how many groups they need and use that many pipe cleaners. Then, students pass out counters, blocks, etc. evenly among the groups.

Incorporate Division Picture Books to Bring the Concept to Life 

Division booklet for the book The Doorbell Rang to practice division situations.

It’s no surprise that I enjoy using picture books during the math block. Picture books can provide a visual representation of an abstract concept. It also helps make a difficult concept more relatable and students can see how we use division in our everyday lives. 

The Doorbell Rang is the perfect book to use when introducing division. In the story, Ma makes 12 cookies. Every time the doorbell rings, the kids determine how they can share the cookies equally.

Division booklet for the book The Doorbell Rang to practice division situations.

My favorite way to turn this into an interactive read-aloud is for students to act out each division situation with a handful of Cookie Crisp cereal. As the story progresses, students divide the cookies into equal groups to see how many cookies each kid would get.

This makes for an engaging and yummy math activity! For more details on this activity, check out how my class divided with cookies. Grab a copy of the booklet for free below!

Grab the Division Activity!

Use this math activity to bring division to life in your classroom.

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    Create Division Situation Models with Students 

    Students model division situations with kids faces with open mouths and cookie paper templates.
    Division situation activities from Introduction to Division with Equal Groups, Division Word Problems, and Activities unit.

    Now that students understand the concept of dividing equally, they understand how it relates to the real world, and they’ve had practice with dividing objects into equal groups, continue reinforcing the skill of division through division situations.

    I suggest working on one problem at a time. Having students illustrate or make a model for that problem will help them bring the word problem to life.

    Apply Understanding in Different Contexts

    As students continue working with division problems, provide opportunities for them to apply their understanding in different contexts. As you assign word problems or activities that reinforce the concept of division, you can continue to introduce new methods to making equal groups. 

    Division booklet to help introduce division to students/
    Division booklet from Introduction to Division with Equal Groups, Division Word Problems, and Activities unit.

    Sticky notes or index cards can make great equal groups! Students can use counters, cubes, mini-erasers, or any other small objects to divide equally among the groups. This keeps the activities fresh and exciting for students.

    Don’t forget these tips for easily introducing division to students. Save the image below for later!


    Hi, I'm Amy

    Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


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