Teaching 3-Digit Division: Lesson Plans and Strategies

In upper elementary school, students learn to solve division problems with multi-digit numbers. Read on if you're looking for lesson plans and teaching strategies that can help your students learn this important skill.

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How to Teach 3-Digit Division

Long Division Steps

Long division requires multiple steps, and it can be hard for kids to remember everything. Create a poster with the steps so students can refer to it later. You may want them to write the steps in their notebooks. It often helps to teach these steps in the context of a division problem. For the steps below, we will be using the problem 382 ÷ 40.

All division problems have three parts: the dividend, divisor and quotient. In 382 ÷ 40, 382 is the dividend, 40 is the divisor and the quotient is the answer to the equation. Review these terms with your class before moving on.

To solve a 3-digit division problem, you'll have to use a long division box. Place the dividend (382) inside the division box, and place the divisor (40) outside the box. Now that you have your long division box set up, go through these steps with your students:

1. Can the divisor (40) go into the first number of the dividend (382)? In our example, 40 cannot go into three because 40 is larger than three. Write a zero above the three on the long division bracket and move on to step two.
2. Include the number in the tens place. Can the divisor (40) go into the first two numbers of the dividend (382)? Because 40 still cannot go into 38, write another zero on the bracket above the eight in 382. Move on to step three.
3. Look at the numbers in the ones, tens and hundreds places. Can the divisor (40) go into the dividend (382)? The answer is yes, so use trial and error to figure out how many times. In this case, you know that 40 x 10 = 400, which is too high, but 40 x 9 = 360.
4. Write nine on top of the long division bracket above the two in 382. Then, write the product of 40 x 9 underneath 382.
5. Subtract the product from the dividend (382 - 360 = 22). This number is called the remainder. Write the quotient like this: 9 R22.

Dice Division

Repetition is one of the most effective ways to learn a new skill, and this game will provide plenty of practice in a fun way. Break students into groups and give each group three dice. The students will take turns rolling the three dice and creating division problems to solve. For instance, if a student rolled a three, four and five, then the dividend of the problem would be 345. Then, the students can work together as a group to solve the problem.

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