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Common Core Standards: Math See All Teacher Resources

Grade 6

The Number System 6.NS.B.2

2. Fluently divide multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm.

Division is important, yo! Whether students are figuring out how to cut a cake for 17 people, all the different ways we could split 120 students into equal groups, or how many 62-inch tall sixth graders we'll need to make a 20-foot tall sixth-grade tower, students will need to use division. And they might benefit from a little practice on the balance beam.

Good thing they're no strangers to division, then! Students have been dividing since the third grade, so what's with this standard? Well, this is the be-all end-all of division, requiring students to (1) divide multi-digit numbers, (2) use and understand the standard algorithm, and (3) do it fluently.

The phrase "multi-digit numbers" doesn't specify whether they're whole numbers, fractions, decimals—and that's exactly the point. Students should feel comfortable dividing with all these numbers.

The "standard algorithm" is your run-of-the-mill long division, with the fraction bar and everything. No area models, no partial quotient method. Straight up long division, and nothing but.

Finally, being able to divide numbers "fluently" can mean different things to different people, but we've chosen the very quantitative interpretation, "Without wanting to throw your math textbook across the room, scream with the pain of a thousand daggers, and fall to the floor, weeping and in shambles." Hopefully, that's at least somewhat accurate.

The good thing about the standard division algorithm is that it works for all multi-digit division. (That was the sound of sixth-grade students all over the world sighing in relief.) Unlike the partial quotient method, there's also a very clear right or wrong way to do it. That's good, though, because you can easily check and see if students know what they're doing when they use it.

It all boils down to this: if students can use the standard algorithm to tackle division problems with multi-digit numbers, they're good to go.

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