Understanding division

The precursor to learning how to do long division is to know when and why to divide. Once students understand the meaning of division, the process is easier to understand and remember. Make up division stories with your children, and let them solve for practice dividing. Here are some examples of different types of division* to share with them.

How many groups?

There are 368 minnows in our creek. There are 46 minnows in each section. How many sections are there? (Solution: 368/46=8 sections )

For a more advanced child: There are 368 minnows in our creek. There are 46 minnows in each 20-ft. span. How long is our creek? (Solution: 368/46=8 20-ft. spans. Take 8*20 to get 160 ft. of creek.)

How many in each group?

There were 56 birds singing on 7 trees. How many birds were on each tree? (Solution: 56/7=8 birds on each tree.)


We drove 300 miles to the beach. It took 15 gallons of gas. What was our gas milage? (Solution: 300/15=20 miles/gallon.)

Follow up question (embellish according to your family fun): If gas was $3.50/gallon, and we stopped for $25 of tacos and root beer on the way, how much did it cost to drive to the beach? (Solution: $3.50*15+25=$77.50.)

Price for one (unit price)

If Chiclets gum at the Mexican restaurant cost 20 cents for a packet of 5, how much is each piece of gum? (Solution: 20/5 = 4 cents).

Follow up: If gum at Walmart is $1.90 for 10 sticks, which type of gum is cheaper per piece?

(Solution: Gum at Walmart would be $1.90/10=$.19 or 19 cents per stick. Chiclets gum would be cheaper per piece.


Tameica is twice as tall as her cousin Terrance. Tameica is 4 ft tall. How tall is Terrance?

(Solution: 4/2=2 ft.)

*For an easy read that goes into further detail on types of problems and how children typically solve them, see https://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Mathematics-Cognitively-Guided-Instruction/dp/0325001375

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