Mastering Long Division


Having taught across KS2 for the best part of ten years, I have taught long division numerous times, numerous ways.  Let’s be honest, when we think of long division, we tend don’t recall overly positive experiences.  Whether you are a teacher or a parent, here are my thoughts on one of primary maths greatest predicaments. 

Teaching the process of long division is like any other key skill; it requires breaking down the overall process into small, manageable steps. 

First, set out the problem using the formal method [steps 1, 2 and 3].

Next, using the divisor, list the multiples on your page to support you with the method.  This is a stage where many children struggle therefore, consider the strategy that you share with them in order to achieve this [multiples strategies].

Personally, I prefer teaching the efficient multiples strategy as this is both quick and reliable.  Multiples strategy with the multiplication method is reliable but slow. 

Once you have written out the multiples of the divisor, begin by working through the method.

How many times does 27 go into 7?  0

How many times does 27 go into 74? 2

Now subtract 2 lots of 27 from 74 to leave a remainder of 20.

Now bring down the 2 tens to make 202.

How many times does 27 go into 202? 6

Now subtract 6 lots of 27 from 202 to leave a remainder of 13.

Finally, bring down the 5 ones to make 135.

How many lots of 27 go into 135?  5

You now have a final answer of 265.

In summary, work out which strategy is going to give you reliable multiples.  Lots of repetition to embed the steps of the method will really help.

Good luck!