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Stage 1: Pictures

Children are encouraged to develop a mental picture of the number system in their heads to use for calculation. They learn to count in different steps and experience sharing and grouping using a variety of practical resources and real life objects. They develop ways of recording calculations using pictures, etc.


It is important to note that ‘sharing’ is an experience of division only if it is ‘sharing equally between’.

Use of language and visual representation is important – remember the visual image for sharing will be different for grouping. Create topic links where possible.

e.g 6 ÷ 2 ...

Grouping – “How many 2’s in 6”

How many 5’s in 15?

Division situations of this kind have what is called the inverse of multiplication structure.

Setting the problems in both real life/topic context and solving them with concrete apparatus will support children’s understanding.

“I have got 5 bones to share equally between my two dogs. How many bones will they get each?”

It is important that children have lots of experiences in grouping and sharing for division using practical apparatus, arrays and pictorial representations in the early stages of understanding this concept.


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