Dozens of Ways to Do It

Scripture: Genesis 37

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn how to find a numbers’ factors by grouping.

Guiding Question: How many different ways can I group the number 12 so that each group is equal?

Paper stars

Joseph had 12 sons. These 12 sons would eventually become the 12 tribes of Israel. In the Bible, the number 12 was an important number that often stood for completion. Discuss how the number 12 is used all around us to represent completion. Brainstorm how we use the number 12 to help us measure and organize things. Examples: a dozen eggs or cupcakes, 12 months in a year, 12 numbers on the face of a clock, 12 inches in a foot, etc. The number 12 can be an easy number to work with because there are several ways that it can be divided into smaller groups. Review Joseph’s dreams where his 12 brothers bowed down to him in the form of wheat and stars. Divide students into pairs. Give each pair 12 paper stars. Encourage students to see how many ways they can organize their stars into an equal number of groups. Students may come up with: 1 group of 12, 2 groups of 6, 3 groups of 4, 4 groups of 3, 6 groups of 2, 12 groups of 1. Have students list their groups and how many are in each. After students have shared their groups, explain that all of the numbers they found are called factors. Factors are the two numbers that can be multiplied together to find a whole number. Have students take their factors and write them as number sentences. Ex: 2×6=12

Additional Questions:

  • What patterns do you see? How is this like division/multiplication? li>
  • What strategies/tricks did you use for finding even groups?
  • Which groupings are practically the same multiplication facts?
  • What factors are used for the seasons in a year? Consider how many seasons there are.

Supplemental Activities:

  • Have students research other places in the Bible where the number 12 is important. Have them answer why they think 12 was used in each instance.
  • Have students find the factors of larger numbers.
  • Have students brainstorm different circumstances in which it would be useful to find a number’s factors.

Written by: Savannah Negas