Having Trouble with Long Division?

 

Is There an Easier Way for Children to Learn Long Division?

For years I have watched children struggle with long division.  I have seen them get more and more frustrated as they rise through the grades.  Many times they have given up by the time they get to me in 6th grade.  I have looked for an easier strategy – one where all children would be successful dividing large numbers.  During a summer break, I dedicated all my free time to developing an alternative to long division.

A number of years ago, I started teaching my students a strategy called, Area Multiplication, to help those students who did not understand the algorithm for 4-digit by 3-digit multiplication.

Since division is simply the opposite operation of multiplication, I decided to reverse the concept of Area Multiplication.  That was my challenge.  How was I going to take the concept of the Area Multiplication and come up with a new way to do long division that was easier for children to learn?  Well, after hours and hours of trial and error, I believe that I have developed an easier way for children to divide numbers.  I will demonstrate this strategy in the following series of video-posts.

I have developed these posts in a similar manner to how I teach in the classroom.

First, I introduce a concept and just have children watch how to complete the strategy.
Next, I have children complete the strategy step-by-step along side me.
Finally, I have children attempt the strategy on their own, and then I go over the strategy with them.

Without further ado, here is the Watch Me Problem:

WATCH ME

For this first problem, I encourage you to simply watch how the problem is solved.  I like to introduce any new concept in this manner, so you can relax and focus on the strategies for solving the problem.

Cookies for sale

1 – Watch Me

You love to bake.  Your favorite thing to bake is cookies, and everyone says your cookies are the best!  So, you decide to sell your cookies.  You have baked 524 cookies.  Each cookie box holds 8-cookies.

How many boxes do you need?
Will you have any cookies left over?

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.

 

WORK WITH ME

For this second problem, I encourage you to develop your skills by working side-by-side with me.  I would like you to watch a bit of the video, then pause it, and copy what I do on your paper.

Mountain Bike Tour

2 – Work with Me

You and your family love mountain biking.  You decide to go on a family mountain biking tour across a 230-mile trail of the Rocky Mountains.  Your plan is to ride 7 miles each day.

How many days will it take you to complete your mountain biking tour?

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.

 

ON YOUR OWN

For the remaining problem, I encourage you to solidify their skills by completing the problems on your own.  Once you have completed the problem, watch the video, and correct your mistakes.  Over the years, I have found that children make substantial jumps in understanding when they find their own mistakes and then fix them.  That is why I have included this form of teaching into my ebooks.

Junior NASA Club

3 – On Your Own

You have joined the Junior NASA Club of America.  It is a very cool club that teaches you about being an astronaut.  Today you get to put on a space suit and fly in a super fast jet.  Your jet will fly super fast for 9 seconds.  You will travel 345 miles in that time.

How far will you travel each second?

Your Challenge:
Gather the following materials:

  • A blank piece of paper
  • A pencil

Solve this problem just as you did in the earlier one.

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 link 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!

Professional Frog Catcher

4 – On Your Own

You are a professional frog catcher.  You can catch any frog, any time, anywhere!  You caught 282 frogs in just 6-days.

You caught the same amount of frogs each day.

How many frogs did you catch per day?

Your Challenge:
Gather the following materials:

  • A blank piece of paper
  • A pencil

Solve this problem just as you did in the earlier one.

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 link below:

Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.

If you madke a mistake, pause the video and fix your mistake.
That’s the fastest way to learn!

 

Racing Armadillo

5 – On Your Own

You have a pet armadillo that runs like the wind.  You decide to enter your pet in the Annual Texas Armadillo Race.  The race is 427 miles across the dusty sands of Texas.  If your armadillo can run 4 miles per hour for the entire race, how many hours will it take him to complete the race?

Your Challenge:
Gather the following materials:

  • A blank piece of paper
  • A pencil

Solve this problem just as you did in the earlier one.

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 link 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 1-digit number (ie: 4,224 ÷ 8).  The concept builds from this one, so it is important that you understand all the videos that you have just worked through.

Area Division
Books within this series

Price: $2.99
Coming Soon to Amazon
I have completed the planning and outline stages of this book, and will be publishing it soon.

If you would like to be notified as soon as it is published, shoot me an email at brian@teachersdungeon.com.  I will put you on my email list and let you know as soon as it is available.

Area Division will help children in 3rd through 8th grades who are struggling with the old algorithm of long division.  In this book, I will teach children the simplistic system of Area Division.

There are seven books in this series on Area Division.  I have incorporated a cyclical learning approach, where each educational concept is first introduced, then reinforced, then revisited again and again – with each subsequent book rising to the next level of competency.

For this reason, it is important that you begin the appropriate level of competency.

Choosing the Right Book

If you are a student who is struggling to understand concepts in this video-post, I suggest you go back to my very first post (An Introduction to Area Division).  Do not worry if the concept seems too low for your grade.  For example, if you are in 6th grade, but you are still struggling with long division – don’t worry.  There is nothing wrong with going back to the basic back for a moment to improve your technique.  This will only make your math stronger as you increase in difficulty.

If you are able to follow the concepts of this video-post, but you can not complete the third problem on your own – Then this is the right book for you.  You are ready to learn these concepts.

If you can complete the third problem in this video-post on your own, and you completely understand how it is done, then you are ready for the next concept in this series.  Go to my next video-post.

All my books video tutorials linked to each and every problem.  Below you will find links to blog-posts that give you a free preview of each book.  By previewing my books, you can see your exact level of understanding, and which book you need.

Area Division – Book 1
An Introduction to Area Division
(ie: 524 ÷ 8 = 65 R 4)

Book 2
Area Division – Dividing 4-digits by 1
(ie: 4,224 ÷ 8 = 528)

Book 3
Area Division – Dividing 3-digits by 2
(ie: 738 ÷ 82 = 9)

Book 4
Area Division – Dividing 4-digits by 2
(ie: 2,952 ÷ 82 = 36)

Book 5
Area Division – Dividing 5-digits by 3
(ie: 70,864 ÷ 824 = 86)

Book 6
Area Division – Dividing When Your Quotient is a DecimalComing Soon
(ie: 533 ÷ 82 = 6.5)

Book 7
Area Division – Dividing When your Divisor is a DecimalComing Soon
(ie: 35 ÷ 0.8 = 43.75) & (ie: 28.8 ÷ 0.8 = 36)

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

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.

 

Novels by McCoy

I have written a number of books that are available on Amazon.  I have nonfiction books on mathematics that link to video tutorials and are designed to help children gain a deeper understanding of the math.  Here is a link to the first book in my series on fractions.  I have also written a chapter book and a young adult novel.  You can have a free preview by clicking on the links below.

MY ADVENTURES WITH CHICKENSPIKE – This is a chapter book that is perfect for children in 3rd and 4th grades.  My Adventures with ChickenSpike is a Children’s Fantasy Book.  The main character is a young boy who is being bullied.  He travels to a distant planet and finds his inner strength.  By the time he returns home not only is he no longer a victim, he is a hero!

 

 

RED – This is a young adult novel that is especially designed for children in 5th and 6th grades.  Red is an action packed adventure with two main characters and a number of supporting characters that add humor and drama to this novel.  Bruno Vic and Evelyn Rose attend Sir Francis Drake Middle School.  Bruno is big, street-wise, and tough, but he also has high morals and undying loyalty to his friends.  Evelyn Rose was born rich, but an unfortunate turn of events has landed her in the heart of the Tenderloin District of San Francisco.  Bruno, Evelyn, and their friends are desperate to steer clear of the gangs, so the turn to a mysterious man that the gangs seem to fear.  His name is Red.

 

Have a great day – Brian McCoy

13 Comments on “Having Trouble with Long Division?

    1. Hi there Evelyn –
      I am very glad to hear that this blog post has helped you.
      If you have another educational topic that you find difficult – let me know.
      I will see if I can help.
      Have a great day!

  1. I think area division is really cool.
    This video helped me understand area division, which is much easier than long division.
    Area division is super cool, and I didn’t even know that it existed until I read this post.

  2. Hello again Mr. McCoy, I like Area Division so much that I had to write another comment. I think it is so much easier that long division, and I think people can learn it faster. The part I like the best is when you make a mistake. You can just add an other box and keep on going. My math is much better with Area Division!

  3. Thanks, I just can’t stop watching the blogs Mr.Mccoy. This is really helping do my home work now and some times even on test. Thanks so much for taking all your time out to make these videos!

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