Circle C Farm has 1,500 chickens. They separate the chickens into 6 different areas. How many chickens are in each area?

Define a variable and write an equation. Solve the equation.

According to my son's Math book, the equation is a multiplication equation, as follows:

Let x = the number of chickens in each area;

6x = 1500; x = 250

Why is this not a division equation even though it says they " separate the chicken into 6 areas". Doesn’t separating the chicken translate to dividing?

Would greatly appreciate your help in understanding what in the word problem would help my son figure out that he needs to write a multiplication equation.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Don't get hung up on what they call it. I am assuming they don't call it a division equation since it's not of the form $x/a = b$. Either way what it's called is irrelevant. $\endgroup$ – lightxbulb Jan 23 '19 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to see this question rewritten with cats. Can you imagine trying to herd cats into 6 separate areas? Good luck with that. This is one reason I prefer pure maths. $\endgroup$ – Adam Hrankowski Jan 24 '19 at 6:02

This is more of a semantic question than anything else. It all depends on what you think “multiplication equation” means, and what your son’s math book calls a “multiplication equation.” The term is vague and not really important to the problem. The problem involves multiplication in the sense that $6x$ means $6$ multiplied by $x$, and it involves division in the sense that to solve the problem, one must divide $1500$ by $6$.

Anyways, most mathematicians get irritated when elementary school teachers treat multiplication and division as different things; after all, dividing by $6$ is the same as multiplying by $1/6$.

  • $\begingroup$ Exactly! Unfortunately, his teacher is in control of his grades so won't give him credit if he is writes division instead of multiplication or vice versa, even if the solution is correct. He considers it as "skipping the first step" in formulating the actual equation. $\endgroup$ – Pearl Jan 24 '19 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Pearl That’s a problem. Unfortunately, the only the only things you can do about that are protest the school’s teaching methods or just learn what their definition of “multiplication equation” is, however illogical it may be. $\endgroup$ – Franklin Pezzuti Dyer Jan 24 '19 at 21:23

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