Learn to Divide: Step-by-Step Division Instructions

Dividing can be tricky at first, but once you learn the process you'll be able to ace your division tests. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to do division!

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How to Divide

Division Without Remainders

When you begin studying division, you'll learn to do problems where the divisor (the number you're dividing by) goes evenly into the dividend (the number being divided). To solve simple division problems without remainders, you can use pictures or manipulatives. While it's best to memorize your division facts, you can use the process described below to solve 1- and 2-digit division problems when you don't have the answer memorized.

1. Use tally marks to represent the dividend. For example, if the dividend is 40, you'll write 40 tally marks. Instead of grouping the tally marks by fives, like normal, group them by whatever the divisor is. If the problem is 40 ÷ 4, for instance, then you would group the tally marks by fours.
2. Count how many groups of tally marks you have. This is your answer. If you have any tally marks that don't fit into a group, check your counting. If you've counted correctly, this means your answer has a remainder and you'll need to move on to the next section of this article for instructions.
3. You can double-check your answer by multiplying it by the divisor. If the product of the answer and the divisor equals the dividend, then your answer is correct. For example, 40 ÷ 4 = 10 and 10 x 4 = 40.

Division With Remainders

When your simple division problem has a remainder, you'll need to indicate this in your answer. A remainder occurs when the divisor doesn't go into the dividend evenly. For instance, 8 ÷ 3 has a remainder because 3 goes into 8 twice (3 x 2 = 6), but there's a 2 left over (6 + 2 = 8). In this case, the answer would be 2 R 2 ('two remainder two').

If you're using the tally method described in the previous section to find your answer, the remainder is the number of tally marks that do not fit into a group. Imagine you're dividing 13 by 5. As you write your 13 tally marks, you'll make 2 groups of 5 marks (2 x 5 = 10), but then you'll have 3 additional marks left over (10 + 3 = 13). These 3 marks are the remainder, so the answer is 2 R 3.

Practice Problems

Solve these practice division problems and then check your answers. Some of the answers have remainders and some don't.

1. 24 ÷ 8 = ?
2. 36 ÷ 6 = ?
3. 20 ÷ 6 = ?
4. 42 ÷ 6 = ?
5. 25 ÷ 3 = ?

Answer Key

1. 24 ÷ 8 = 3
2. 36 ÷ 6 = 6
3. 20 ÷ 6 = 3 R 2
4. 42 ÷ 6 = 7
5. 25 ÷ 3 = 8 R 1
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