The Relationship Between Multiplication & Division

Instructor: Dina Albert
Did you know that you use multiplication and division when you are sharing food, such as cookies? In this lesson, you will learn about how multiplication and division go together.

Two Different Problems

Sometimes you may find yourself faced with two different types of problems to figure out.

One problem you may face is bringing cookies to school to share with your friends. You bring a certain number of cookies, and have to make sure each person gets an equal amount. In this case, you will need to use division.

Let's Divide!

Let's say you brought 8 cookies and wanted to share with three of your friends. Using division, you can figure out how many you and your friends would each get.


You will need to make sure that every person gets the same number of cookies. There are four people sharing: you and three friends.


We took the eight cookies we started with, and divided them into four equal groups.

8 / 4 = 2 cookies per person.

Let's Multiply!

Another problem you may face is figuring out how many cookies you need to buy. If you know that you want everyone to have two cookies, and there are four people (you and three friends), you can use multiplication to figure out how many cookies you will need to buy.

Start by visualizing that each person gets two cookies:


Then, you can count each cookie individually, or count by two's. Multiplication is repeated addition.

2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 2 cookies x 4 groups =


So 2 x 4 = 8

Notice that we split the cookies into groups when we divided. We did the opposite when we multiplied by putting the cookies together. Splitting into groups (division) and putting groups together (multiplication) are opposites of each other.

Another Example: Pencils in a Box

Question: If there are six students, and each student needs two pencils, how many pencils all together should the teacher buy?

For this problem, the tool we will use is a multiplication chart.


In this chart, the six on the side is circled and the two at the top is circled. The red lines come from the six and the 2, and meet at the 12!

6 students x 2 pencils = 12 pencils all together

You can check your answer by adding 2 pencils 6 times (6 students):

2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 12 pencils!

Now, what about dividing?

Here is the cool thing! If we want to divide up the pencils equally, we can use the same Multiplication Chart! Let's try it!

Question: If there are 12 pencils in a box, how many pencils will 6 people have in order to share the box of pencils equally?


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