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Solving Division Word Problems

Instructor: Francine White

Francine has taught elementary school and is currently an elementary Math specialist. She has two Master's degrees: Curriculum and Instruction in Math K-14 and Educational Leadership

''Division word problems''--Do these three words make you want to pull your hair out? Never fear! In this lesson, you will learn four simple steps that will help you solve those dreaded division word problems.

What is Division?

Division means to split something into equal parts. Suppose you had eight cookies to share with a friend evenly. Each of you would get four cookies. 8 / 2 = 4

Steps to Solving Division Word Problems

When you solve a division word problem, you must:

1. Answer the question that is being asked.

2. Understand what is being divided. This is called the dividend.

3. Understand how the dividend will be divided. In other words, how many equal pieces will the dividend be made into? This number is called the divisor.

Let's get started!

Solving A Division Word Problem with No Remainder

315 fifth-graders are going on a field trip. If the school purchased 5 buses for the trip, how many students will ride on each bus?

Step 1: To make sure you answer the question, turn the question into a statement: ''____ students will ride on each bus.''

Step 2: Decide what needs to be divided. 315 students must be divided.

Step 3: Decide how the dividend will be divided. 315 students will be divided among the 5 buses.

The problem is 315 / 5.

Let's take a minute to review long division.

Since we know that there are no groups of 5 in 3, we look at 31. There are 6 groups of 5 in 31. So we put the 6 above the tens place in the dividend.

We then multiply the 6 tens or 60 x 5, to get 300.


Div 1


When we subtract 300 from 315, the difference is 15. There are three groups of 5 in 15. The 3 goes above the ones place in the dividend.


div 3


Step 4: Fill in the blank in your statement. 315 / 5 = 63. 63 students will ride on each bus.

Solving A Division Word Problem with a Remainder

Sometimes when we divide something, the entire amount does not divide evenly. For example, if you wanted share 13 cookies with your best friend. Each of you would get six cookies but there would be one cookie left over. This is called the remainder.

Let's practice!

Michelle got 119 gumballs for her birthday. If she ate 3 gumballs each day, how many days would it take for her to eat all of the gumballs?

Step 1: It would take ___ days for her to eat all of the gumballs.

Step 2: The 119 gumballs are being divided--the dividend.

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