Once upon a time there was a small village of gnomes who loved eating mushroom soup for breakfast. Winter was coming, so harvesting their prized, red and white mushrooms was necessary for their survival. The gnomes, donned in their purple and light blue capes and pointy hats, thrived on playing games to prepare themselves for each season. When it came time to harvest and pass out their lovely, fluffy mushrooms they used a fun little game called… Division. You see, gnomes have that wonderful ability to turn something mundane and difficult into a colorfully organized and simple game.
This is how you do it.
Objective: to learn basic division using fun manipulatives and imagination
Materials: (click on the highlighted words to take you to an example)
- A set of 9 gnomes (I made mine with wooden pegs and glued felt similar to this tutorial – with printable pattern – from Playful Learning, minus the stitching. You can also purchase miniature gnomes from HERE or HERE, but order two sets to get nine gnomes)
- A set of 81 mushrooms (I purchased a few packets of THESE, and clipped off the wires at the bottom. To make them stand up I glued them onto green pony beads)
- gnome house
- tray or basket (like this moss-covered one)
- division slips
- division book paper (available in my Printables section – right now everything is FREE!)
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Ready? Here we go!
Start by setting out all of your materials. The child may want to set the gnomes up in a playful way, but just as long as it doesn’t become too distracting. Use a harder surface such as a table or an overturned tray for your “game board.”
Choose a division slip and place it above your paper. Have the child write the problem on the division page. It often helps to have the child say the problem out loud as she’s writing it, at least in the beginning stages of learning basic division.
Explain to the child with as few words as possible, that she is going to divide up 9 mushrooms between 1 gnome (the vocabulary might be a little fuzzy with this problem, but I like to keep it consistent). Ask the child to place one gnome on the game board.
Count out how many mushrooms the gnome has and write down your answer under “quotient” in the booklet. Repeat the problem out loud, “9 divided by 1 equals 9.”
Let’s try another one…
Choose another division slip and say the problem out loud. “6 divided by 3 equals”
Write the problem down on your division booklet page.
Set out three gnomes to match the number 3 in the “divisor” spot. Say, “Now we’re going to divide up six mushrooms between three gnomes.”
Start counting out the mushrooms one by one to each gnome.
Once all of the mushrooms are evenly distributed, count how many each gnome received. Then, write the answer down under “quotient.” Have the child say the problem and the answer together, “6 divided by 3 equals 2!”
Let’s do one more!
Continue counting out the mushrooms to each eager little gnome…