Division with decimals, particularly decimal divisors has always been a challenging topic for me to wrap my head around. Based on my own procedural understanding of this concept, it was impossible for me to conceive of teaching division with decimals for understanding. Then, Kristin Gray posted this exploration of decimal division. I read the post and was inspired. The closed mindset voice in my head screamed, “Impossible. There is no way that my students could ever construct responses like that!” Kristin’s post was quickly pushed to the far reaches of my mind.
Fast forward one week to the evening I posted this tweet.
A short time later I had my first response. From Kristin, nonetheless! The conversation pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to struggle with my own conceptual understanding, particularly when it came to decimal divisors.
Forty-five minutes later minutes…
The next morning, with only the remnants of the trepidation felt a week ago, and armed with a greater understanding of division with decimal divisors, I kicked off our division unit. Posed to my fifth graders was a question similar to that posted on Kristin’s blog. My students were instructed to use a drawing to support their responses. As everyone buckled down and delved into the problem, I kept my fingers crossed.
Nothing. But. Amazing.
Of course, some students did struggle to make sense of the problem and I look forward excitedly to see how their understanding develops through our exploration of division with decimals. I look forward to watching their uncomfortable become comfortable, the way mine did.