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Teaching division to your child

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This section is a brief overview of math division. It covers the concept of sharing in equal amounts, the basic division operation and long division. The sections most relevant to you will depend on your child’s level. Use the information and resources to help review and practice what your child’s teacher will have covered in the classroom.

Introducing division

When you start teaching division to your child you should introduce division as being a sharing operation where objects are shared (or divided) into a number of groups of equal number.

Once you have build an understanding of the concept of division you can try using these division worksheets. When teaching early division you should also discuss that division has an opposite. Discuss how division is about separating sets, while the opposite type of math, called multiplication is about combining sets. Explore this relationship with your child as it will be important when recalling basic facts to solve division problems. Introduce fact families (e.g. 5 x 3 =15, 3 x 5 = 15, 15 ÷ 3 = 5, 15 ÷ 5 = 3).

Dividing numbers

After your child grasps the concept of dividing and the relationship with multiplication you can start working with numbers. Be sure your child is familiar with the format and signs for division

showing 12 divided by 3 using both division formatsWith the concept grasped, teaching division will become more about guided practice to help your child to become familiar with the division operation (although it’s really going to be a different type of multiplication practice.) Start by practicing division by 1, 2 and 3 and then gradually move up to 9. Use the worksheets to help.

Division with remainders

Your child will most likely come across or ask about situations where division “does not work.” These can be explained with the introduction of the remainder. It is an important idea to understand as the division of larger numbers will require the “carrying” of this remainder.

Teaching division with larger numbers

There are a number of methods for dividing larger numbers. One of these is shown below:

showing method for dividing 64 by 4 by starting with tens

These printable worksheets will provide practice with similar types of division problems.

Long Division

There are different methods for dividing multi-digit numbers (long division). One way is a combination of estimation/ trial and error and multiplication. There is also a commonly used algorithmic method that is well explained and illustrated here at mathisfun.comexternal link icon.The example below shows the same algorithmic steps alongside place value blocks to help show what is actually happening during the division process.

Watch an animated mini-lesson showing how to do long division Animated Long Division Min-lesson. Note. It shows the same steps as below.

Divide 368 by 16. In other words, we take 368 and share it with 16 equal groups.

368 in place value blocks

16 groups

16 groups

       
16 3 6 8

Start with the hundreds. There are 3 hundreds. We cannot share 3 equally with 16 groups.

We need to break the hundreds into tens. 3 hundreds equal 30 tens. So with the 6 tens we started with we now have 36 tens. We can start sharing. We can share 2 tens with each of the 16 groups.

Place value blocks showing 32 tens 16 groups with 20 in each group
    2  
16 3 6 8

We have used up 32 of our tens. We still have four tens to share.

We need to break the tens into ones. 4 tens equal 40 ones. So with the 8 ones we started with we now have 48 ones. We can share 3 ones with each of the 16 groups.

Place value blocks showing 48 ones 16 groups with 23 in each one
    2 3
16 3 6 8
- 3 2  
    4 8

We have used up all 48 of our ones. There are zero left. We have finished.

368 shared equally with 16 groups gives 23 in each group.

368 divided by 16 is 23.

368 ÷ 16 = 23

2 3
16 3 6 8
- 3 2  
    4 8
  - 4 8
      0

Once you have worked through the steps above with your children try a "hands on" division exercise using money. For example, share $2.38 equally with 14 groups (238 ÷ 14). Start with the dollars; you cannot share two dollars equally so you will need to change them into twenty $0.10 coins. Next share the tens; you can put one ten (a $0.10 coin) into each of the fourteen groups. You will have nine $0.10 coins left which you will need to change into ninety $0.01 coins. This leaves ninety-eight $0.01 coins which can be shared with 7 in each of the groups.

Repeat with different amounts of money and numbers of groups. Write the algorithmic steps as you go.

You can practice long division with this worksheet generator or you can try this Multiplication/ Division Worksheet Generator. It also .provides limitless division questions that can be printed out..

Recap

This brief overview of division should highlight that teaching and learning division has as much to do with multiplication as it does with division.

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