Division Meets Problem Solving and CRA

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

This has been just a fabulous week for me!  I’ve modeled lessons in both Kinder and 1st, and I visited the classrooms of two amazingly talented teachers.  Nothing more gratifying that seeing great math going on and seeing kiddos (and teachers!) who are enthusiastic about math.

Today, I’m taking you in Regina Bartels’s classroom for a lesson on division.  This is Regina’s first year of teaching 2nd grade after years of teaching 1st.  She confided she was a little nervous about teaching multiplication and division, but if this is her ‘nervous’ I can’t imagine her ‘comfortable’.

You will see all the components of great math instruction in this lesson.  First, the skill, division, is taught through problem solving.  Next, the lesson takes the kiddos through all the CRA steps–concrete, representational, and abstract.  There is both guided and independent practice.

During the mini-lesson the kiddos work the problem with the teacher.  They use snap cubes to model the problem (concrete).
The kids are led through the problem solving steps–identify important information, make a plan, carry out the plan, and check for reasonableness.  We call it Understand, Plan, Do, Check.  This is the representational part of the instruction, showing how what they modeled with snap cubes could be represented on paper.  It also brings in the abstract, because after finding their solution, the class decided on and wrote the division number sentence.
The kids are ready to work one on their own now!
Kids “deal out” the “donuts” to the 6 friends.
Young mathematicians put their thoughts and work on paper.
All the groups were working the same problem, but their work did not all look the same!
More snap cubes in action
One group’s work.  Funny story–one student in the class actually had 4 mini-donuts for his snack!  We all got a good laugh out of that.

Interested in more CRA?  Check out this post.


  1. Sarah

    This is so awesome! I just found your blog and LOVE it! I’m your newest follower 🙂

    Stop by my blog if you have the chance!

    The Fabulous First Grade

  2. Karen Danter

    Your site has been helpful in so many ways. I teach in a small school in Mo. This is my first year 5th grade. I moved down from 6th grade math and Pre- Algebra, and I am wondering if you have any helpful hints on teaching Division with Multi Digits with and without Decimals. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    • Donna Boucher

      Boy, have I got a site for you, Karen. Check out Michelle Hugenberg’s YouTube channel! She makes videos for her flipped classroom, and they are terrific for teachers as well!


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