Lesson 3

How Many Groups?

Lesson Narrative

This lesson and the next one extend the “how many groups?” interpretation of division to situations where the “group” can be fractional. This builds on the work in earlier grades on dividing whole numbers by unit fractions. This lesson is the first in a group of five lessons that trace out a gradual progression of learning—from reasoning with specific quantities, to using a symbolic formula for division of fractions (MP8).

The first two lessons explore the “how many groups?” interpretation of division in situations involving fractions. In this lesson, the number of groups in each given situation is 1 or greater. In the next lesson, students find the number of groups that is less than 1 (“what fraction of a group?”).

In this lesson, tape diagrams are spotlighted and used explicitly. They are more abstract and more flexible than other representations students may have chosen for thinking about division problems that involve fractions. Because they use measurement along the length of the tape, tape diagrams are closer to the number line representation of fractions, and ultimately help students visualize division problems on the number line. (Students are not required to do that in this lesson, however.)

Students continue to make the journey from reasoning with concrete quantities to reasoning with abstract representations of fraction division (MP2).

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Explain (orally) how to create a tape diagram to represent and solve a problem asking “How many groups?”
  • Justify (orally and using other representations) the answer to a problem asking “How many groups?” in which the divisor is a non-unit fraction and the quotient is a fraction greater than 1.

Student Facing

Let’s draw tape diagrams to think about division with fractions.

Required Materials

Learning Targets

Student Facing

  • I can use a tape diagram to represent equal-sized groups and find the number of groups.

CCSS Standards


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