Activities to Teach Students to Divide Integers: Find the Sign
Dividing integers is an important mathematical concept that students need to learn in order to solve advanced algebraic problems. Of course, dividing positive numbers is the easy part. But when the signs change, things get tricky. Here are some activities to teach students to divide integers and to find the sign of their answer.
1. Color-coded numbers
One way to help students understand division when negative numbers are involved is by using color-coded integers. Let green stand for positive, and red for negative. When dividing two green numbers, the answer will be green. When dividing two red numbers, the answer will also be green. When dividing a green number by a red number or vice versa, the answer will be red. Use these color codes to explain the rules of dividing integers, and ask students to solve basic problems using their color-coded numbers.
2. Using number lines
Another way to help students visualize division of integers is by using a number line. Start the line with zero in the middle, and have the positive numbers go to the right, while the negative numbers go to the left. When dividing two positive numbers, simply place the answer in the positive side of the number line. When dividing two negative numbers, place the answer on the positive side of the number line, but flip the answer’s sign to negative. When dividing a positive number by a negative number, place the answer on the negative side of the number line. Finally, when dividing a negative number by a positive number, place the answer on the negative side of the number line, but flip the answer’s sign to positive.
3. Real-world examples
Creating real-world examples can also be a great way to help students understand dividing integers. For instance, you can ask questions such as “if 50 candies are to be divided among eight people, how many candies will each person get?”, or “if a bank has to divide $3000 among five employees, how much will each employee get?”. These examples can be made more challenging by introducing negative numbers and require more set-up from the teacher. Students will be able to grasp the concept of dividing integers more easily with practical examples they can relate to.
4. Interactive games
Using interactive games can liven up the learning experience and make math more fun. For example, “Math Race” can be used to teach students division and the sign of the answer when dividing integers. In this game, students roll two dice and create a problem by choosing two numbers from the roll and an operation. If a student lands on a “positive” space, he/she will have to solve the problem the normal way. But if he/she lands on a “negative” space, the student must find the sign of the answer before solving the problem.
By incorporating these activities into your lesson plans, you can help students understand how to divide integers and determine the sign of their answer. They will develop a strong foundation in this essential math function, which will help them when solving more complicated algebraic problems later on.