Basic Division

To divide means to split up a large number into smaller groups of numbers. For example,
a group of 50 people could be divided into smaller groups of people, such as 5 groups
of 10. In order to do basic division, it is very important that you know your multiplication
tables (or times tables).

For example, you might see a problem that looks like this:

This problem would be read, “Eighteen divided by 2 equals _____.” In order to solve
this problem, you would need to think of your times tables. Then, you would turn
the problem around in your head, and say “What number times 2 equals 18?” or “How
many times can we put 2 into 18?”

After thinking about your two’s times tables, you would remember that 9 x 2 = 18.
Thus, your answer to the division problem is 9. Notice that these can be said in
two different ways:

Eighteen divided by two equals nine.
Two times nine equals eighteen.

Let’s try another one. Our new problem is:

This is read “twenty-five divided by five equals ____.” Now, we have to flip it
around and say, “What times 5 gives us 25?” We think back to our times tables and
remember that 5 x 5 = 25, therefore 25 divided by 5 equals 5. Our final answer is
five.

Notice that these can also be said opposite of each other:

  • Twenty-five divided by five equals five.
  • Five times five equals twenty-five.

Division problems like this can often be done in your head, so there’s no real work
to show for solving them. This is called using mental math—because it’s done in
your mind. For examples of how to do harder division problems, see our page on long
division
.

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