Collider Divider is a math character who depicts division as separating neatly (into 2s, 3s, 4s, ...) where the quantity being separated must be partitioned into bits the same size numerically. Use the story and follow-up below to tell about the jobs she does. Emphasize that division is about separating things and explain that the word “neatly is used with the word “separating because the result in everyday living usually looks neat. Have elementary school students mime the actions implicit in the jobs in the follow-up to acquire a literal feel for division as separating neatly.

Like Tractor Subtracter, Collider Divider is a separater, but when she separates things, she may split them into more than two pieces or groups, and the size (numerically) of the pieces or groups will always be the same. When she separates things, the result usually looks neat, like socks sorted into pairs, roses boxed by the dozen, or a cake cut into individual servings. That is why we say she separates neatly. No one knows why Collider Divider always separates neatly; that is simply the way she is. Do you know anyone like Collider Divider? Are you ever like her? Explain.

Slicing a cake, braiding hair, and dealing out cards are Collider Divider jobs around the house. Show me (mime) what it looks like to do those jobs. What are some other Collider Divider jobs around the house? Show me (mime) what it looks like to do those jobs.

Passing out pencils, stacking chairs, and picking teams are Collider Divider jobs at school. Show me (mime) what it looks like to do those jobs. What are some other Collider Divider jobs at school? Show me (mime) what it looks like to do those jobs.

What are some other ways to say (or imply) separate “neatly? Make a list of these words and post it where it can be seen and extended. Include words like allocate, allot, apportion, assign, compartmentalize, deal, dice, dispense, distribute, divide, divvy, dole, fragment, parcel, partition, portion, prorate, ration, section, segment, share, and subdivide. These words transcend the contrived language in arithmetic word problems and heighten student’s awareness of the many everyday occurrences of division in and out of school.

Optional: Write and illustrate a story about Collider Divider.

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