{FREE} Multiply & Divide Integers Sorting Challenge

Want to give your students some additional practice with integers? This Multiply & Divide Integers Sort requires students to focus on the sign rather than the computation to internalize integer operations.

Multiplying and dividing integers seems like such a straightforward process at first. If both integers are positive or both integers are negative, the result is positive. If the integers are opposite signs (one positive and one negative) the result is negative. Easy, right? Of course I’m about to complicate things, LOL. What about when you’ve got more than two integers? What about when the numbers get really large or really small? What if you’re dealing with exponents?? To help students tackle more complicated expressions without getting bogged down in the numbers (or relying on a calculator), use this Multiply & Divide Integers Sort.

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Setting Up the Integers Sorting Challenge

IN order to complete this challenge, students do have to have some prior knowledge of the ‘rules’ for multiplying and dividing integers. I recommend using this guided lesson to walk them through an introduction to multiplying & dividing integers. Then they’re ready for this sorting challenge!

This is a very simple activity to set up, but will hopefully prove especially useful for students.

To begin, you will need to print the sorting mat & expression cards (included in the download).

I recommend printing on card stock paper and laminating for durability.

Then cut out the expression cards (there are 24 expressions altogether) and you’re all set!

Reasoning with Integer Operations

Once you have the materials ready for students, they simple use their reasoning skills to determine if each expression will result in a positive value or a negative value without doing any calculations.

The goal here is for students to internalize the ‘rules’ for integer multiplication and division and also look for patterns (such as with exponents).

This is an important skill to practice, because it will help them to check their final answer when they get to more complicated tasks, even if they eventually are using a calculator for computation. If they know the final answer should be negative based on reasoning, but their answer is positive, they need to go back and check their work.

This is also helpful because it can help students to recognize that they don’t need to worry about the sign of their final answer until the end.

Rather than getting bogged down with positives and negatives in each step of a multiplication or division problem, they can complete all the multiplication and division first. Then they can use reasoning to determine if the final answer is positive or negative. This will be especially useful when they get to rational numbers with fractions and decimals.

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How to Use the Integers Sorting Challenge

This works best as a small group activity because it allows students to discuss expressions together and justify their reasoning.

Here are some ways you can set this up with small groups:

1. Print one set for a math center and let students sort 6-8 expressions each when they have a turn at that center

2. Print multiple complete sets for multiple small groups to all work on the sort at the same time (for example, all students work in a group of 3-4 students at the same time)

Use this as independent practice:

If you prefer not to use small groups (or you don’t have enough students for small groups), you can print the mat and the expressions on regular printer paper.

Then let students complete the sorting challenge on their own as a cut and paste activity.

Ready to try this out with your students? Use the link below to grab it from my shop!