# Tips for Teaching Long Division

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Sep 15, 2018.

1. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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Sep 15, 2018

I am teaching long division to my 6th graders next week. The majority of them have never done long division with the standard algorithm before -- they only used partial quotients. I am going to assume that they know nothing, especially because some kids could not even multiply using the standard algorithm.

I am going to use the acronym (Does McDonalds Serve Cheeseburgers?), have them write it on their paper, and cross off when each step is done. Does anyone have other tips? I am also looking for any activities people might use when teaching this topic.

3. ### rpanCohort

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Sep 15, 2018

Keep the pace slow and use small numbers To start with and then build up from there. Long division can seem difficult and overwhelming so they need to feel they can conquer it. Also, maybe the “I do” “we do” “you do” method may be helpful. Students who have got it can move on to the “you do” phase while those who need more help can stay on the “we do” phase.

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I have seen people use decks of cards where they can visually see and move the cards down when needed.

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5. ### mathmagicEnthusiast

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Sep 15, 2018

You might consider showing with a model while you do it via the algorithm so they learn what's happening at each step. As you were mentioning, you might start with partial quotients / "big 7" to build up the conceptual understanding behind the algorithm if you feel they need that.

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Sep 15, 2018

This.

Also, explain to them that long division, like “short” division, is just repeated subtraction in that you are really just trying to figure out how many groups/parts you can make by dividing the dividend (whole) by the divisor (part).

Another thing that might help is asking students how many parts remain after removing a “grouping” of the divisor. Do a few examples of this and they should hopefully notice that the quantity that remains is the difference of the dividend and the groups.

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Sep 15, 2018

Excellent idea. This would be especially helpful to visual and kinesthetic learners.

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Some things in math require a lot of repetition. I strongly feel that this is one of them. If it were me, I'd: Do two on the board; do three or so together; have them do one, check together, do one, check together, and so on.

Ultimately, I Do, We Do, You Do.

Also, use simple, repetitive language. Know exactly what you'll say for each step, and then use that language repeatedly as you're showing what to do. They will eventually hear that language in their heads as they're doing the problems on their own.

Note on above: some might take issue with "use simple, repetitive language", and it might seem like you're talking down to the kids. I disagree 100%. Having a simple chant to say as you go through a process can help immensely. For example, even as an adult, I still say the "I before e, except after c" rhyme in my head when writing certain words.

9. ### Teacher234Cohort

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When I start teaching long division, I love beginning with a quick review of finding the remainders. I use fruit snacks. I also provide a visual anchor chart and model with my students the problems.

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I’m curious, what do you do with the fruit snacks specifically?

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Please just say "eat 'em", please just say "eat em"!!!

13. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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Sep 15, 2018

I am going to start with partial quotients and I am not sure if I need a day on just reviewing partial quotients. I'm also not sure how to connect the two methods though. What type of model are you talking about?

I think this is the way to go for this topic. I have looked at some of the more inquiry based curriculum and the way that they teach long division seems ridiculous. For example, the open up curriculum just showed an entire long division calculation and wanted the students to justify/explain each step of the problem the first time they saw it. I know my college would frown upon this, but this is one of the units where I will be a "traditional teacher."

That said, does anyone have activities for long division? I will probably be teaching this for over a week (especially including decimals.) I will do worksheets but I would also love some ways to make it less boring. I was thinking of group task cards at some point this week and my homeroom kiddos can help me prep them.

Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
14. ### Teacher234Cohort

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The fruit snacks are used as counters.
For example:
34/7
I have my students make groups of 7 until they get to 34.
7 fruit snacks 7 fruit snacks 7 fruit snacks 7 fruit snacks 7 fruit snacks
After they get to 34, the students should realize that a 5th group can not be made. So, they count the equal groups and the unequal group is the remainder. Then they eat the fruit snacks.

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15. ### gr3teacherPhenom

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Sep 15, 2018

When I did long division with third graders, I always used the family model as a mnemonic... Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Cat (Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring down, Check)

16. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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Sep 15, 2018

Kind of makes me sad that my 6th graders don't know it when your 3rd graders did

17. ### gr3teacherPhenom

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To be honest, I never really bought into teaching the partial quotients method. I know where kids are going when they hit middle school and high school and they really just need to know the long division process.

18. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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There needs to be more communication between elementary and middle school teachers. I find it crazy that some of my students seem to have never seen the traditional algorithm for multiplying. Thankfully, this is a small minority of my students but they are struggling. However, I only have about 5 students who know the standard algorithm for division.

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19. ### gr3teacherPhenom

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From my experience, the biggest problem is that too many elementary teachers can't really do math, so they rely on teaching tricks instead of helping students understand why something works (and why the most common methods for computation BECAME the most common methods of computation).

20. ### Pi-R-SquaredGroupie

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Sep 15, 2018

The following conditional statement has applied through and through.

“If you know how to divide, then you know how to multiply.”

So if you don’t know how to multiply, then you don’t know how to divide.

Your quick learners will know their times tables. Believe me.

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21. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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Sep 15, 2018

A silly little thing that may help, to begin with: have them work long division problems on notepaper rotated 90 degrees so that the lines make columns. A digit brought down must stay in its column, because that column represents its place value AND accounts for the placement of the next digit in the quotient.

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