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“Division, How to Teach”

Division, How To Teach

New Method Versus Old Method

Anyone can teach division to Middle Primary School children. Methods have changed a bit over the years but I’m not convinced that they are better.

The new strategy used in the classroom involves:

  • working from the top down rather than bottom up in addition and multiplication.
  • It also involves crossing out a number and writing another number, possibly in every column except the Units Column.

I think this approach is taught so formal division can be introduced at earlier levels. Many skills are taught earlier and earlier in school.

However, children continue to use this method of crossing out numbers and changing them. As a result many kids don’t move into quicker and better methods.

I think it is better to teach in the Middle Primary School around Grade 4. The advantages are:

  • the child learns faster because of age, and
  • side-steps the time-wasting and confusing crossing out of numbers.

So, How To Teach Division

  • Explain to the child that division is the only one of the four functions (+, -, x, /) where you work from the Thousands or Hundreds Column and not the Ones Column (units). This is why it is the last function that we teach.

You want to divide 5 into 5635.     5 / 5635.

Divide 5 into 5 = 1.

Divide 5 into 6 = 1 and 1 remainder. Put a small 1 above and in front of the 3. So the child then can read the number 13.

Divide 5 into 13 = 2 and 3 remainder. Put a small 3 above and in front of the 5. So the child then can read the number 35.

Divide 5 into 35 = 7.

The answer is 1127.             

If there is a zero in the number, it must be put into the answer. Kids sometimes forget this point.

For example:   

The Worksheets for Grade 4 have lots of practice in doing this kind of sum in the 3x, 4x and 5x tables. Grade 4 children learn the 6x, 7x and 8x times tables progressively. But the division practice usually uses the tables they have already mastered.

Link To Merlin Maths

There are several maths packages on this site for Grade 4. Merlin Maths is one and here is the link.


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