Sabrina has taught a variety of subjects and grades as a substitute teacher and will complete her MAT in 2016.
Zeros to the Rescue
Dividing large numbers can be intimidating, especially when they end in several zeros. Some of those large numbers may make you feel like you will never get to the end of the problem, but this does not have to be the case. Those zeros may actually be a reason to be thankful. Let's look at a couple of examples.
How Zeros Help
Our first example tells us to divide 100 by 10. This example is not a hard one. The answer is 10. We know that 10 will go into 100 ten times. But, let's look at this problem another way. Another way you can divide numbers ending in zeros is to strike out the common zeros.
Strike Out the Common Zeros
What does that mean? The common zeros are the zeros that both numbers have in common. For example, the number 100 and the number 10 each have one zero, so that zero is the one they have in common. We can only strike out one zero for each number because they only have one zero in common. So if we divide by striking out the common zeros, our numbers would now look like this:
Notice, after we strike out the common zeros, we re-write the problem without the zeros that we made a strike through. Doing this changes our problem from 100 divided by 10, so that now our problem is 10 divided by 1.
Once the problem has been simplified by striking out the common zeros, it is time to divide. For our example problem, we are going to divide 10 by 1. One will go into one, one time. One will go into zero, zero times. Our answer is 10.
What About Harder Problems?
Most division problems ending in zeros are going to be much larger than our original example. So, now that you have an idea of how to strike out common zeros, let's look at a harder problem.
Don't let this problem scare you. It looks large, but let's simplify it by striking out the common zeros and rewriting the new problem. Both of the numbers in this problem have 6 zeros.
After we strike out the 6 common zeros from both numbers, we are left with 39 divided by 13. We can now move on to our second step, to divide. 39 divided by 13 is 3, because 13 will go into 39 three times evenly. Our answer is 3.
Dividing numbers ending in zeros may look difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Strike out the common zeros and rewrite the problem. Then, divide.
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