Unless your child is in a public school using Eureka Math or some other Common Core curriculum, you may not have heard of a tape diagram before. I know they were new to me. Although they are new, this doesn't mean that they are bad. In fact, they are quite a handy little tool for modeling math problems and solving.
I am starting a new series, where I will be sharing some tape diagram love. I hope you will join in. And feel free to ask questions if you have any.
A few weeks ago, I gave my daughter this word problem to solve:
Kyla spent threeeighths of the day sleeping. How many hours did she sleep?
This problem could be kind of tricky. But we can start by creating a model. We want to know how many hours are in three eighths of a day, so lets start by breaking up the day into eighths.
Here is one day:
Now, since there are 24 hours in each day, we can divide the 24 by 8 to see that there are 3 hours in each section. If your child doesn't have their division (or multiplication) facts down, they could do an equal share here, where they share the 24 hours equally to each section and end up seeing that there are 3 in each.
This tells us that each eighth of a day is 3 hours long. But we actually want three eighths of a day.
3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

From the tape diagram, we can see that three eighths of the day is 9 hours. So Kyla must have slept for 9 hours.
So looking at the model, my daughter was able to determine that three eighths of the day can be calculated by dividing 24 and 8 and then multiplying by 3 or repeatedly add the three hours.
This process is nice because it really helps the child visually see how the amount of time sleeping compares to the amount of time spent on other things throughout the day. And it gives them a visual look at which operations to use instead of just memorizing procedures.
Have you used a tape diagram? Have tape diagrams showed up at home on homework?
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