How to Teach Division - A Simple Step by Step Guide |

How to Teach Division – A Simple Step by Step Guide

Division is fourth among the first four basic math operations that a child should learn. These math operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They form the basis of all math problems. Learning the first three operations is not mandatory for a child to understand division, but as we shall see, they are vital. However, teaching a child division is not as difficult as it might seem.

Concept of Division

As outlined above, division can seem complicated, but it’s easier than you think. Generally, division entails sharing equally according to the number of groups needed. For this reason, you can relate division to the idea of sharing equally.

For instance, several items can be shared equally between groups. A practical example is sharing 9 apples (number of items) among 3 friends (3 groups), whereby each friend will have 3 apples.

The basic concept of division is better understood through grouping and sharing methods. Division is also termed as the inverse of multiplication or a process of repeated subtraction.

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How to Teach Division to a Child

Learning how to divide or teaching division is not complicated as it seems. A parent or teacher can master a straightforward approach to explaining division effectively. Consequently, a child can quickly grasp the concept pretty easily.

Below is a step-by-step process on how to learn division from the basic concept of division to long division. This approach involves a gradual process, making it easier to assess how a child handles division problems.

Note: It’s vital to ensure your teaching is engaging and fun to enhance its effectiveness.

Step 1: Introduce Basic Division

For a child to understand division, they need to understand the basics of division.

First, present the concept of division to a child as a way of sharing. Naturally, it’s easier for a kid to understand division on this kind of approach. Therefore, introduce items such as candies for the practice.

Secondly, physically ask the child to divide the number of candies into smaller groups. For instance, if you have 8 candies, ask a child to divide them into 4 small equal groups. It means that each group should have an equal number of items (candies). In this case, 8 is the dividend (it represents a total number of items/objects) while 4 is the divisor. 2 candies are in each group; therefore, 8 divided by 4 groups is 2.

Once a child can do grouping, now you may introduce division symbols. It will require writing down the division sign (÷) and forward-slash (/) to show division. Additionally, you should say it aloud while writing it down on a worksheet. It makes the process visible to a child and enhances understanding. From the above scenario, 8 divided by 4 can be written as 8÷4 or 8/4.

Now, if the child knows the concept of multiplication, it can be even easier to explain division to them. You’ll help them understand that division is the opposite of multiplication. Therefore, use times tables to illustrate this process. For example, check on the times tables 2×4 = 8 and then illustrate that 8÷4= 2. Then do 2×3=6 and 6÷3=2. You should do it multiple times till a child understands the relationship between multiplication and division.

Lastly, evaluate your child’s learning capabilities by providing them with some simple division problems. However, ensure you use numbers that divide evenly. For example, 12÷4, 6÷3, 8÷2, 15÷5, etc. You can help them repeat this step from dividing candies into groups to using the times table.

Step 2: Working Out Division with Remainders

If a child already understands basic division, including how to divide numbers evenly, you can now proceed to the next step. This step entails working with remainders where numbers can’t be divided evenly.

To elaborate the concept of remainders in division, use items such as candies and blocks. Start by counting a certain number of candies that cannot be divided into equal groups or cannot be divided evenly. For instance, ask the child to divide 9 candies into groups of 4 or divide 15 candies into groups of 6.

In the first scenario, there would be a remainder of 1 because each of the 4 groups would have two candies. There would be a remainder of 3 candies in the second example because each of the 6 groups would have 2 candies. This concept helps a child understand that some numbers are leftover in division and are called remainders.

You should then write down the division problem on a worksheet. For example, 9÷4= 2 remainder 1 and 15÷6=2 remainder 3.

To make learning division with remainders more effective, provide a child with more division problems like 7÷2, 10÷3, 15÷4, 20÷7, 25÷10, etc. The ultimate goal is for a kid/student to exercise until they can explain why they have remainders in each group without your help. You may allow them to use candies or other items if they need to do grouping.

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Step 3: Teach Long Division

As outlined earlier, learning how to divide for kids is a gradual process. Therefore, if a child successfully handles the previous two steps, it’s time to proceed to another level, i.e., long division. Learning long division is a little bit technical. However, a child who already understands the basic inverse of times table and remainders can easily work out long division.

Usually, long division repeats the basic steps of divide, multiply, subtract and drop to the next digit.

To teach long division for kids, start to bring the concept of even division. Each hundred, tens, and ones are evenly divisible by a divisor. The child gets used to knowing and practicing how many times a divisor goes into various digits of a dividend.

The next step in long division involves remainder and utilizes multiply and subtraction concepts. You apply multiplication and subtraction in the easiest possible place at the very end of the division, i.e., the one’s column where you have the remainder. However, if you have a remainder in the tens in the long division algorithm, you divide, multiply, subtract, and then drop to the next digit.

Divide:

In the above scenario, two go into 2 once; therefore, we got 1 (placed above the long division sign). We can also say 2 divided 2 is 1.

Multiply and subtract:

Now, let’s work out the remaining 54.

2×2=4, write the 4 below 5 and subtract to find the remainder. The remainder is 1 of the ten.

Drop down the next digit

Next, drop down the 4 of the ones next to the 1 of the ten left. Now, you have 14. 

Now divide two into 14. The same concept of multiply will re-occur where by 2×7= 14. Write the 7 above the division sign and 14 under 14. Once again, the subtraction will re-occur whereby 14-14=0 

Therefore the quotient of 254 by 2 is 127.

Final Thought

Division can be tough to learn, especially for children who interact with it for the first time. However, the above approach addresses how to divide from the basics to long division step by step. Most importantly, it’s worth noting that teaching division to kids is a gradual process. It’s also much more effective when the learning is fun and engaging. Lastly, consistent practice of solving division problems makes a child proficient in it.  

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