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
What Is Division?
It's important to start with a simple question and answer: what is division? Quite simply, 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.
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- 0:04 What Is Division?
- 0:21 Steps to Solving Word Problems
- 0:44 Word Problem with No Remainder
- 1:53 Word Problem With a Remainder
- 3:07 Lesson Summary
Steps to Solving Word Problems
When you solve a division word problem, you must:
- Answer the question that is being asked.
- Understand what's being divided. This - the number that is being divided - is called the dividend.
- 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!
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
Now, let's take a quick 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.
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.
Step 4: Fill in the blank in your statement: 315 / 5 = 63. 63 students will ride on each bus.
Word Problem with a Remainder
Sometimes when we divide something, the entire amount does not divide evenly. For example, if you wanted to share 13 cookies with your best friend, each of you would get 6 cookies, but there would be one cookie left over. This is called the remainder.
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.
Step 3: The gumballs are divided into groups of 3 - the divisor.
Step 4: Fill in the blank. It would take 39 with a remainder of 2 gumballs for her to eat all of the gumballs, but that doesn't make sense, does it?
It would actually take 40 days for Michelle to eat all of her gumballs. For 39 days she would eat three gumballs, but at the end of the 39 days she still has two gumballs left, so she would need another day to eat the two left over gumballs.
One last thing we should bring up: the dividend is not always the larger number. If you had one candy bar that you wanted to share with your friend; that would be 1 candy divided by 2 people. The division problem is 1 / 2. Each of you would get ½ of the candy bar.
Let's quickly review. We first learned most crucially that division simply means to split something into equal parts. When you solve a division word problem, make sure you understand what is being divided, called the dividend and how it's being divided, which is the divisor. Also, it's very important to remember this caveat we covered: the bigger number is not always the dividend. Now, you should be well equipped to do division word problems whenever they come up.
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Solving Division Word Problems
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