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The Long and Short of It - Division

The topic of long division has come up a great deal lately; so, I thought I would again post this article which was seen originally in September of 2014.

My remedial college math class is currently working on fractions. (Yes, many college students don't understand them!) When we discussed how to change an improper fraction to a mixed numeral, long division came up. I showed the class a shortcut I was taught many years ago (approximately when the earth was cooling) and none, no not even one student, had seen it before. I wonder how many of you are unfamiliar with it as well? First let's look at long division and how most students are taught today. We will use 534 divided by 3.


Now if that doesn't make your head swim, I don't know what will. Everything written in the third column is what the student must mentally do to solve this problem. Then we wonder why students have trouble with this process. There is another way, and it is called short division for a reason. This is the way I learned it.......
I don't know about you, but I would rather have my students doing mental math to solve division problems than writing everything out in the long form. And the paper and frustration you will save will be astounding! So what will it be.....long division or short division?

Divisibility Rules Resource
As a Side Note: Since many students do not know their multiplication tables, reducing fractions is almost an impossible task. The divisibility rules, if learned and understood, can be an excellent math tool. This resource contains four easy to understand divisibility rules and includes the rules for 1, 5, and 10 as well as the digital root rules for 3, 6, and 9. A clarification of what digital root is and how to find it is explained. Also contained in the resource is a dividing check off list for use by the student. If you are interested, just click under the resource title page.

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