Long Division Made Easy


Introducing long division made my brain hurt.   It made my son’s brain hurt.   Oh, long division, you were not our friend.  

I heard repeatedly, “I just don’t understand what I’m doing!”

That’s a sure sign to put on the breaks and slow down.   I went back through my Teacher’s Guide for our math curriculum & found this amazing tool:

I cut it out & taped it to the desk.   The steps are so simple.   But it WORKS.   My once frustrated, lost child was able to follow this sequence and after about 4 problems, he declared himself

THE KING OF DIVISION.

Success can sure boost a child’s self esteem, & long division was no longer a confusing maze of numbers for my son.   It never occured to me to write the steps this way.

If your child is struggling with long division, make your own chart (or print out the photo above!) and see if this little tool will   help.

Your child will soon become the MASTER OF LONG DIVISION too!

16 Comments

  1. Long division looms on the horizon for us, so I’m glad to see this. My oldest, like her mother, likes steps, because they bring order to chaos!

  2. Nice. The steps are a great reminder. Long division is a challenge. Pinned so I can come back to this when the dreaded long division rears its head in my home!

  3. Wow! I have to file this one away! Long division did me in as a kid and I have a lot of anxiety as a result. I had been a model student all through out elementary, but I got so far behind that year (4th grade, I think?) and the teacher had no idea!! It affected the way I felt about math for the rest of my life!! So, no pressure!!! LOL!! One of Josh’s cousins is a math tutor and she has some great mnemonic device for long division. I can’t remember it at the moment, but I’ll have to hit her up for it and share it with you.

  4. Hi all, this is a great reminder of the “rules of long division”, just like having a number line on your desk. Just to be sure that your child truly does understand the PROCESS of long division, use manipulatives (concrete objects). Money is a great to use hands-on. I suggest doing this process ALONG SIDE of the actual plug and chug of writing it out.
    Materials: have 92c to be divided into 4 groups (draw four circles on a paper, but even explain as we need to divide this change up to 4 people say). 92c= 9 dimes + 2pennies.
    Process: Have child place dimes evenly into piles. He/she should make 4 piles with 2 dimes (20c) each. This is WHY we put the “2” on top of the “9” (remind of place value, it’s really 20 on top of the tens place value… actually you can have child write 2-0 on the top, saying that we are using pencil so this is our initial guess and let’s see if we have to adjust and erase as we go). We just made 4 groups of 20. So out of the 92c we “took care of” 80c of it. Thus this is the subtraction part. (This is where you have 9-8 vertically written in your example above. I prefer write down 92 -80 vertically, meaning make the child put 8-0 so this make sense what is being done.) But how much is left over? One dime + 2 pennies = 12c. Well we can’t evenly distribute the a dime and a penny BUT let’s trade it in at the “bank”! Exchange the dime for a ziploc of 10pennies. NOW we have 12 pennies so let’s split up the pennies into the 4 groups. How much money is finally in each group? 2dimes+3pennies =23c in each group. Let’s go back to our calculation and see that this makes sense. (adjust the answer to be 23 and see that there is 0 remainder.)
    I hope this makes sense and I hope this helps! (I am a stay at home mom/ Math Professor, who teaches the Math for Elem Ed teachers, ie the future teachers. Training the next generation of teachers to be positive and excited about math is one of my passions! 🙂 )

  5. The combination of Trisha’s cool money method and Heather’s essential plug and chug method makes it more likely that both visual learners and memorizers “get” Long Division. It’s also good to have 2 methods like this so that kids can check their answers using the other method if they get stuck. Thanks for sharing!

  6. HappyCampers says:

    Yes, please share!

  7. HappyCampers says:

    Well said, Caroline!

  8. My 5th grade teacher taught me to remember the steps by thinking, “Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother”–D=divide, M=multiply, S=subtract, B=bring down. At least, it worked for me since those were the members of my family in age order!

    Here are some other arithmetic strategies you might find useful!

  9. Love it! i saw this on Crystal & Comp!

  10. In my classroom I use:

    Dad (divide)
    Mom (multiply)
    Sister (subtract)
    Brother (bring down and bring up for the remainder)

    We call it DMSB

  11. My son has been struggling with Long Div so I thought I would google the phrase “Long Division Made Easy”. There is a website called longdivisionmadeeasy who are bringing an android app to market. I contacted them and they got back to me saying it will be on Google Play this week, in the meantime I will use this 4 step process to see if this helps. Any one else know of any cool long division apps I could install asap? My son loves his tablet and I think a more fun approach would help him Thanks in advance..

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