When I was an elementary school teacher, I always knew when it was long division week in the fourth grade. My normally positive and energetic colleagues would come to the staff room slumped over and exhausted, commiserating and complaining about the drudgery and frustrations of teaching so many children this complicated process. I particularly recall a day when one teacher, normally very reserved and quiet, demonstrated the “long division dance” that she’d created out of desperation to help her students learn the steps!
Even though long division can strike fear into the heart of even veteran teachers, I have two pieces of good news for you:
- As homeschool moms, we only have to teach long division to one child at a time. (Well, maybe two if you have twins. But not 25.)
- With a hands-on approach, children can not only learn how to do long division, but also why it works. This saves a lot of time in the long run, because they can more readily remember the steps, find their own mistakes, and deal with more complex long division situations.
In the video below, I demonstrate how to teach long division so that your child will learn both the how and the why of long division. (Or, if you want to get a little jargon-y, so that your child will develop both procedural fluency and conceptual understanding.) All you’ll need is a sheet of graph paper (for keeping the digits lined up) and some play money with 1s, 10s, and 100s.
(Sorry that some of the money is off-screen. My production equipment consists of our very basic camera on a tripod, and I didn’t zoom out quite enough!)
Have any more questions about teaching long division? Have a different topic you’d like me to demonstrate in a video? Let’s chat about it in the comments!