| |

Think Multiplication for Division Facts

Can you tell I spend a LOT of time in the summer reading about math and teaching? I read new books, but I also cycle back through old favorites. It’s kind of funny, actually. I’ll read a couple of chapters of one book, and the next day pick up another book and read a couple of chapters out of that one. Very random.

This post contains affiliate links, which simply means that when you use my link and purchase a product, I receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, and I only link to books and products that I personally use and recommend.

I read a great little section out of Van de Walle’s book today (the 3-5 version this time), and I found something I wanted to share. Start with this quote:

“There is undoubtedly some value in limited practice of division facts. However, mastery of multiplication facts and connections between multiplication and division are the key elements of division fact mastery. Word problems continue to be a key vehicle to create this connection.”

Personally, I never solve a division problem using division. If I am solving 56 ÷ 8, I always think of it as “what times 8 equals 56″ (BTW, I do the same for subtraction—it’s addition to me). Van de Walle suggested a great little activity called How Close Can You Get? to help children practice what he calls “near facts.” That is, divisions that don’t come out evenly. As he points out, this type of situation is much more common in real-life than divisions that do come out evenly.

When presenting this activity, be sure to model the thinking process you go through to determine the solution. For example, with a near fact like 38 ÷ 5, you’d cycle through the 5s facts, adjusting as you go: 5 times 6 (too low), 5 times 7 (close), 5 times 8 (too much). So the solution would be 5 x 7 with 3 left over.

This would make a great class warm-up or workstation activity. I made a little recording sheet patterned off the Van de Walle activity that you can use. There are a couple of versions with numbers filled in (one easier and one harder), and there is also a blank version that you can use to write in your own numbers. Or the kiddos can make up problems for classmates to solve.

division facts
Click here to grab your Think Multiplication for Division recording sheets. Keep in mind that for this strategy to work, students must know their multiplication facts. Check out this blog post for a free game for practicing multiplication facts using the doubles strategy.

Similar Posts


  1. Hi Donna,

    I found your item through Classroom Freebies! I am a 3rd Grade Teacher in Australia and LOVE maths! I don’t know who Van de Walle is but it sounds like it is worth a read! I would love to be able to access the Maths Worksheet you have above, only it send me to google drive when I click on – any suggestions on what I should do next? I tried to check your TpT to see if it was on there and that link didn’t work either – I guess it isn’t my day!




    1. Hey Alison. Van de Walle was a professor here in the US. His college textbook was so wildly popular, that he published a commercial version. It really is my go-to book for math. Check it out here. Yes, I store all my files in Google docs. You should be able to click on File and then Download and grab a copy.

  2. Thank you. Fabulous, straight forward and easy to understand, as always. Your blog remains my homeschooling maths textbook. I’m from Australia too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *