Kids Math
Division Basics
What is division?
Division is breaking a number up into an equal number of parts.
Example:
20 divided by 4 = ?
If you take 20 things and put them into four equal sized groups, there will be 5 things in each group. The answer is 5.
20 divided by 4 = 5.
Signs for Division
There are a number of signs that people may use to indicate division. The most common one is ÷, but the backslash / is also used. Sometimes people will write one number on top of another with a line between them. This is also called a fraction.
Example signs for "a divided by b":
a ÷ b
a/b
a
b
Dividend, Divisor, and Quotient
Each part of a division equation has a name. The three main names are the dividend, the divisor, and the quotient.
- Dividend - The dividend is the number you are dividing up
- Divisor - The divisor is the number you are dividing by
- Quotient - The quotient is the answer
Dividend ÷ Divisor = Quotient
Example:
In the problem 20 ÷ 4 = 5
Dividend = 20
Divisor = 4
Quotient = 5
Special Cases
There are three special cases to consider when dividing.
1) Dividing by 1: When dividing something by 1, the answer is the original number. In other words, if the divisor is 1 then the quotient equals the dividend.
Examples:
20 ÷ 1 = 20
14.7 ÷ 1 = 14.7
2) Dividing by 0: You cannot divide a number by 0. The answer to this question is undefined.
3) Dividend equals Divisor: If the dividend and the divisor are the same number (and not 0), then the answer is always 1.
Examples:
20 ÷ 20 = 1
14.7 ÷ 14.7 = 1
Remainder
If the answer to a division problem is not a whole number, the "leftovers" are called the remainder.
For example, if you were to try and divide 20 by 3 you would discover that 3 does not divide evenly into 20. The closest numbers to 20 that 3 can divide into are 18 and 21. You pick the closest number that 3 divides into that is smaller than 20. That is 18.
18 divided by 3 = 6, but there are still some leftovers. 20 -18 = 2. There are 2 remaining.
We write the remainder after an "r" in the answer.
20 ÷ 3 = 6 r 2
Examples:
12 ÷ 5 = 2 r 2
23 ÷ 4 = 5 r 3
18 ÷ 7 = 2 r 4
Division is the Opposite of Multiplication
Another way to think of division is as the opposite of multiplication. Taking the first example on this page:
20 ÷ 4 = 5
You can do the reverse, replacing the = with a x sign and the ÷ with an equal sign:
5 x 4 = 20
Examples:
12 ÷ 4 = 3
3 x 4 = 12
21 ÷ 3 = 7
7 x 3 = 21
Using multiplication is a great way to check your division work and get better scores on your math tests!
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