Susan Midlarsky

author • consultant • tutor | inspiring excellence

Conceptual Approaches to Teaching Division

When observing a fifth grade teacher the other day, I noticed that while the students were engaged in many positive ways, they relied upon DMSB — Daughter, Mother, Sister, Brother — or some other mnemonic to remember the procedure for long division. They were also ignoring the value of the unit they were dividing. This is very common, but there are better ways, as Singapore Math shows us!

Why avoid mnemonics like these to help divide?

  • They lead to place value errors, because all digits are treated the same.
  • They are no easier to remember these than an actual procedure.
  • Students can remember them in the wrong order.
  • They reinforce the idea that math is “magic,” ?following rules that no mortal can understand.

How can division be taught conceptually?

Continue reading where it was originally published on the Matholia blog.

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