Steps Long Division – A Better Way for Children to Learn how to Divide!

Long Division Gets Crazy Hard for kids!

When children move into division of a 3-digit number by a 2-digit number like 769 ÷ 89, things get crazy hard.  Even if kids understand how to do long division, they have to estimate how many times 89 will go into 769.  When the estimate is wrong, they have to erase and try again.  Many times, I find children’s papers looking like this with eraser smudges.  Sometimes the papers are even ripped from so much erasing.  The photo shows a student who estimated 5 first.  Then he tried 7, but that was too small also.  Finally, he tried 8.  The actual answer is 8 with a remainder of 57.  This student did get the correct answer, but many do not.  All the erasing can quickly make a child feel frustrated and insecure about math.

Papers like the one shown above are typical of students would are learning to divide with long division.

If a child estimates incorrectly with Area Division, they simply make another area box and continue to solve the problem.  It is much more simple, and makes children feel successful rather than frustrated!  The photo below shows the same step-by-step process used on the paper above.  When you watch the videos below, you will see me demonstrate both estimating correctly and incorrectly.  This will show your child what to do if they make a mistake.

Area Division

If you are following these 8-video posts in order, then you have already read my explanation about Area Division.  Please skip directly to “On to the Videos” below.

Area Division is an alternative to long division.  I have been teaching elementary and middle school children for over a quarter of a century.  Long division confuses more children than almost any other educational concept.  In order to be successful at long division, children need to not only know their multiplication facts, but they must also write in neat columns.  Beyond that, children need to be able to make educated guesses as to how many times the divisor will fit into the dividend.  When they guess wrong, they have to erase and start over.  The entire process is confusing and quite frustrating for young minds.

Break it Down      

Break it Down is a strategy that can be used with Area Division.  However, this is only used when a child does not know their multiplication fact, or if they estimate wrong.   If a child knows their multiplication facts and can estimate correctly there is no need for the Break it Down strategy.
Break it Down works particularly well for students that do not know all their multiplication facts.  The video below shows how children can use the “Break it Down” strategy with any division problem.

 

This is my Third of Eight Video-Posts

  1. An Introduction to Area Division
  2. Dividing a 4-digit number by a 1-digit number (ie: 4,224 ÷ 8)
  3. Dividing a 3-digit number by a 2-digit number (ie: 738 ÷ 82)
  4. Dividing a 4-digit number by a 2-digit number (ie: 2,952 ÷ 82)
  5. Dividing a 5-digit number by a 3-digit number (ie: 70,864 ÷ 824)
  6. Dividing a 3-digit number by a 2-digit number with decimal representation of the remainder (ie: 533 ÷ 82) – Coming Soon
  7. Dividing a 2-digit number by a tenth-place decimal (ie: 325 ÷ 0.8) – Coming Soon
  8. Dividing a decimal by another decimal (ie: 28.8 ÷ 0.8) – Coming Soon

In the summer of 2017, I decided to develop an alternative to long division.  That alternative is called “Area Division”.  I will teach you Area Division a series of video-posts.

Please go in order

The video below is the second progression for learning my latest strategy, Area Division.  In order to fully understand this new strategy, it is important to start with my first video-post (An Introduction to Area Division) and work your way up.  If your child is already in 5th or 6th grade, this may seem too easy.  However, it is important that they understand the basic concept of how this new strategy works before they jump to the problems they’re doing in class.  If they take their time and watch each consecutive video, they will understand this new method of division and will reap the rewards of success!

How to use these Video-Posts

These Video-Posts are designed in a similar manner to how I teach a concept in my class.

First – Children will be introduced to a concept with a “WATCH ME” demonstrational video.

Then – Children continue developing their skills by working side-by-side with me.  They are given a problem and work through that problem, while they watch the “WORK WITH ME” video.

Finally – Children perfect their skills by completing problems by themselves.  Then they will watch the “ON YOUR OWN” videos.  These last videos encourage the child’s independent work, and then review the problem making sure that the child gains understanding.

On to the Video Lessons

These Video-Posts are designed in a similar manner to how I teach a concept in my class. Therefore, I will be addressing the children directly for the rest of this post.

Sleeping Lions

1 – Watch Me

You are on a safari in the heart of Africa.  You look to the side of your jeep and see 17 sleeping lions.  As they sleep they are attacked by 816 buzzing flies that land on them and try to disturb their sleep.  If the flies are equally dispersed among the 17 lions, how many flies are on each lion?

Your Challenge:

This one is easy.  Click on the link below to watch how this problem is solved.  Pay close attention.  Your next challenge will be very similar to this one.

 

 

Tiger Streak

2 – Work with Me

You are a scientist studying the mighty tiger on the Asian Continent.  You find a streak of 37 tigers?  Your team of scientists add all their stirpes and find that they have 967 stripes in all.  If each tiger has the same amount of stripes, then how many stripes does each tiger have?

Your Challenge:

This one is a little harder.

Gather the following materials:

  • A blank piece of paper
  • A pencil

Watch and complete this challenge with me.  I will take you through a step-by-step process.  Together, we will solve this problem.

Pay close attention.  Your next challenge will be very similar to this one.

 

 

Lion Dentistry

3 – On Your Own

You are an animal dentist.  You clean teeth on the most dangerous of felons.  You have cleaned 946 lion’s teeth.  If each lion had 43 teeth, then how many lions did you work your dentistry miracle on?

Your Challenge:

Gather the following materials:

  • A blank piece of paper
  • A pencil

Solve this problem just as you did in the earlier one.  If you estimate incorrectly, make another area box and continue to solve the problem.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake – Some of our biggest leaps in learning come when we make a mistake then see what we did wrong and fix it.

  • Once you have completed this challenge, click the video below:
  • Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.
  • If you made a mistake, pause the video and fix your mistake.
  • That’s the fastest way to learn!

 

 

Prestigious Mouse Store

4 – On Your Own

You own a prestigious mouse store.  Your mice are the cutest, and people travel from all over the US to buy your mice as pets.  You feed your mice peanuts.  You purchased 793 peanuts.  You have 68 mice in your store.  If each mouse eats the same amount of peanuts, how many peanuts does each mouse eat?

Your Challenge:

Gather the following materials:

  • A blank piece of paper
  • A pencil

Solve this problem just as you did in the earlier one.  If you estimate incorrectly, make another area box and continue to solve the problem.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake – Some of our biggest leaps in learning come when we make a mistake then see what we did wrong and fix it.

Once you have completed this challenge, click the video below:

  • Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.
  • If you make a mistake, pause the video and fix your mistake.
  • That’s the fastest way to learn!

 

 

 

Pink Flamingoes

5 – On Your Own

You and your parents are on vacation in South America.  You are visiting a lagoon where there is a flock of pink flamingoes.  The flamingoes are eating shrimp.  There are 37 pink flamingoes in the flock that you are observing.  Together they have eaten 999 shrimp.  If they all ate the same amount of shrimp, how many shrimp did each pink flamingo eat?

Your Challenge:

Gather the following materials:

  • A blank piece of paper
  • A pencil

Solve this problem just as you did in the earlier one.  If you estimate incorrectly, make another area box and continue to solve the problem.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake – Some of our biggest leaps in learning come when we make a mistake then see what we did wrong and fix it.

  • Once you have completed this challenge, click the video below:
  • Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.
  • If you made a mistake, pause the video and fix your mistake.
  • That’s the fastest way to learn!

 

 

 

Your next challenge will be in the Video-Blog-Post, Dividing a 4-digit number by a 2-digit number (ie: 2,952 ÷ 82).  The concept builds from this one, so it is important that you understand all the videos that you have just worked through.

If you need more help, please leave a comment below.  I am happy to help and will reply as quickly as possible.

Have a great day – Brian McCoy

On another note –

Do you think an educational game could help your child learn?

Read my post entitled: Free Children Learning Games – Are they a waist of time?

Novels by Brian McCoy

My Adventures with ChickenSpike – A Children’s Fantasy Book intended for readers in 2nd through 4th grades.

 

 

 

RED – an Action & Adventure Novel intended for readers in Middle School.

 

 

 

Want more Tutorials?

I’ve created an Educational Fantasy Game called, TeachersDungeon.  It is set to the Common Core Educational Standards, and is web-based, so it can be played on any device.  Many of the questions are accompanied by tutorials like the ones you saw here.

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