Facts About Sixth Grade Division: Curriculum Overview

Do you think your sixth grader could use some extra help with division? Are you unsure of which skills your child should learn at this grade level? Read on to find out what division skills sixth graders need to master!

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Sixth Grade Division Overview

In sixth grade, your child should be able to confidently divide multi-digit whole numbers and multi-digit decimals. Your sixth grader will also learn to divide fractions by other fractions and use division to solve ratio and rate problems. In addition, he or she should be familiar with division terminology. For example, your sixth grader should know that the dividend is the number being divided, the divisor is the number you're dividing by and the quotient is the answer.

Dividing a Fraction by a Fraction

To divide a fraction by a fraction, your child must invert, or flip, the second fraction to produce a reciprocal. Once the second fraction is inverted, the operation sign should be changed from division to multiplication. Then, your child will multiply the two fractions and reduce the answer as needed.

For example, in the problem 5/8 ÷ 4/9, your child would begin by finding the reciprocal of 4/9, which is 9/4. Then, your sixth grader would multiply 5/8 x 9/4 to get 45/32. Since this is an improper fraction, your child may need to convert it to a mixed number (1 13/32) or a decimal (1.41).

Students will use this skill when they work with ratios to find unit rates. For example, your child might be asked to find the rate of speed for a raft that travels 3/4 of a mile every 1/2 hour. To solve this problem, your child would divide 3/4 by 1/2, like this:

3/4 ÷ 1/2

= 3/4 x 2/1

= 6/4

= 1 1/2

This means the raft is traveling 1 1/2 miles per hour (mph).

Dividing Multi-digit Whole Numbers

To divide multi-digit whole numbers, your child will use the traditional steps, which are divide, multiply, subtract and bring down. For instance, in the problem 422 ÷ 18, your child will begin by dividing 42 by 18, since 18 can't go into 4. Because 18 goes into 42 twice, your child will write a 2 on the division line above the middle '2' in 422. Then, he or she will multiply 2 x 18 to get 36, and write that number below the '42' in 422. Your student will then solve 42 - 36 to get 6. After that, he or she will bring down the next number from the dividend (2) beside the '6' to get 62.

Then, your child will repeat the process again by dividing 18 into 62. Since it can go in 3 times, your child will write this number on the division line above the last '2' in 422, and then multiply 3 x 18 to get 54. Next, your child will subtract 54 from 62 to get 8 (62 - 54 = 8). Since there are no more numbers to bring down, the answer is 23 with a remainder of 8.

Dividing with Decimals

If the divisor is a decimal, your child will convert it to a whole number by moving the decimal point. Then, he or she will move the decimal point in the dividend the same number of spaces in the same direction. For example, if 18 would have been 1.8 in the previous example, then your child would have moved the decimal point one place to the right to get 4,220 ÷ 18.

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