How to do long division

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Can you do division sums? Share it with us and tell us how YOU do it!

When I am teaching this subject, I usually end up getting out the marsh-mellows and describing it by sharing them out (and eating them eventually). This usually does the trick.

However, it is not an easy concept, it belongs side by side with fractions and is closely related to multiplication. We have to think about factors and multiples and what goes into what.

We will start this section by describing how to divide by powers of ten. This leads smoothly into dividing fractions. Then we will show how to do the bus stop method. If you know of another method, an easier method, then share it with us. Write it in the box below.

Otherwise, stay with us and come back later for an update on long division.

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The Bus Stop Method

Multiplying is a bit like doing lots of additions. In the same way dividing is like doing lots of subtractions.

Some people call it the bus stop method because of the way it looks when it is written down (its in the shape of a bus stop).

To find out how many 3's make 12 we can see how many times we can take 3 away from 12.

12-3=9 (once)

9-3=6 (twice)

6-3=3 (three times)

3-3=0 (four times)

So there are 4 lots of 3 in 12.

We can also say 12 divided by 3 is 4.

or 12÷3=4



20-4=16 (once)

16-4=12 (twice)

12-4=8 (three times)

8-4=4 (four times)

4-4=0 (five times)

So 20÷4=5

This method is too long when we have bigger numbers. So, we will need another way to work it out.



Another way to write it is like this

This is the reason why it is called the bus stop, because it is in the shape of a bus stop.


Here is another example to try


So 69÷3=23

Do you know another long division method?

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