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Long division facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Long division is a method of dividing two numbers, using multiplication and subtraction. Because it is easy to do, it is usually taught in schools. There are other methods which are faster, or easier to program with a computer, but they are more difficult to understand.

Long division breaks down a division problem into a series of easier steps.

As in all division problems, one number, called the dividend, is divided by another, called the divisor, producing a result called the quotient. Using long division, it is possible to divide any numbers, by following a series of simple steps. The abbreviated form of long division is called short division, which is almost always used instead of long division when the divisor has only one digit. Chunking (also known as the partial quotients method or the hangman method) is a less mechanical form of long division prominent in the UK which contributes to a more holistic understanding about the division process.

While related algorithms have existed since 1200 AD, the specific algorithm in modern use was introduced by Henry Briggs c. 1600 AD.

Basic principle

Long division is done in several steps, which are repeated:

  1. The current position is all at the left of the number to be divided (the dividend)
  2. From the current position, take the number of digits to form a number which fits the divisor at least once.
  3. Deduct the largest multiple of the divisor that is smaller than the number formed
  4. If there are no digits left, the result of step 3 is the remainder
  5. Otherwise, take the result from step 3, and append digits from the dividend, so that the number fits the divisor at least once. Go to step 3.

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