Teach Basic Division – Using Horses and Apples

After seeing how to teach basic division using frogs and lily pads by setting them in the same sequence as the division problem (I recommend viewing this tutorial first), your child will soon be able to move on to a slightly more abstract version. If the child has a complete understanding of division vocabulary (dividend, divisors, quotient), then this tutorial shows you how to teach basic division without the division and equals symbol…

Using horses and apples!

I can already hear in my heart the little horse-loving girls who squeal with excitement knowing that they can play with horses, and even better, feed them apples… knowing that play and feed are metaphoric for the division of red beads (apples) among the little plastic horses.

Yet another visually and sensorially appealing way to teach a mathematical concept.

As I mentioned before, I strongly urge anyone to practice this with an older child – middle and high school – that may be having difficulty understanding the concept.

Sometimes you just have to go back to basics.

Objective: to learn the basics of division.
Deeper Objective: to sensorially learn the basic concepts of division by using manipulatives and points-of-interests such as horses and apples.

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1. nine horses
2. red beads or gems equaling to 81
3. division slips Montessori Printshop are what I use, since they do not go greater than a divisor of 9 and there are no remainders).
4. large grid graph paper (if the child is to write the problem and answer – Livable Learning has some great free ones in 1cm to 2 in)
5. barn (The small barn is an old box I had from OrientalTrading.com, and the fence is from a Melissa and Doug barn).

Review the vocabulary words: dividend, divisor, and quotient.
Dividend: the number in a division problem that is to be divided up.
Divisor: the number in a division problem that is to receive the dividends.
Quotient: the answer to a division problem (how many items each divisor received)


Prepare your materials on your rug.

Blindly choose a division slip from the box, and ask the child to say the problem out loud (in this case, 9 divided by 3). Set the division slip next to your materials.

Ask the child to get the correct number for the dividend in the form of apples, or red beads (in this case, nine) and place them in the dividend tray.

Ask the child to get the correct number of horses for the divisor (in this case, three), and set them in a line.

Start to divide the apples up by intentionally giving each horse one apple at a time. If it helps to keep the mind from distraction, the child can say One for you, one for you, and one for you. Then repeat for the next row of apples, giving each horse a bead one at a time.

Continue to pass the apples out to each horse, paying particular attention to the alignment of the beads.

Have the child repeat the division problem out loud, then write the division problem onto the graph paper. Ask the child how many apples each horse received, and remind the child that this number is the quotient. Write the quotient next to the written problem.

Give a high five, and let the horses eat their apples!

Here’s another problem:

And one more just for fun:

And there you have it – basic division with horses and apples. You can use ANYTHING, so use your imagination and see what you can come up with!

About Miranda

* Pisces. Eclectic. Indigo. Mother. Wife. Teacher. Herbalist. Scientist. Fantasy. Outdoors. Ocean. Crafty. Dreamer. * Found out more in the About section.

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