How Many Sheep Are In Each Group?

Scripture: Genesis 31-33

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Jacob leaving and reuniting with Esau, focusing especially on Jacob dividing his family and animals into groups before encountering Esau.
  • Students will learn that Jacob would have had to multiply fractions by whole numbers if he wanted groups of equal size.
  • Students will learn how to multiply fractions by whole numbers.
  • Students will participate in an activity to help them practice multiplying fraction by whole numbers.

Guiding Question: How can we know how many things to put in each group if we want to divide the items from a larger group evenly/

Materials: Equal number of plain pony beads or sheep beads for each student, paper and pencils

Procedure: Review the story of Jacob leaving and reuniting with Esau, focusing especially on Jacob dividing his family and possessions into smaller groups. Explain if Jacob had wanted each group to be equal, he could have used multiplication of a fraction by a whole number to find out how many people, animals or things should be in each group. Teach and or review with students how to multiply a fraction by a whole number. (ex. One half of twenty = ½ x 20 = ½ x 20/1 = 20/2 = 10)

Give each student an equal number of beads, a sheet of paper and a pencil. Call out various problems involving multiplying a fraction by the total number of beads. Students should work the problem on paper then check the answer using the beads. If time allows give more problems multiplying a fraction by a different whole number.

Additional Questions:

  • How could Jacob use division to divide everything into equal groups?

Supplemental Activity: Repeat the activity using division to find how many items should have been in each group.