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Long Division Remainder

Here's a refresher on long division, by way of example. We're hoping monkey see, monkey do. Not that you in any way resemble a monkey. Well, maybe a little around the eyes.

Sample Problem

What is 250 divided by 4?

We need some words to help us refer to different parts of the division problem. If you've read the sections leading up to this one, they're pretty well drilled into your brain by now, but if not, here you go:

• The dividend is the thing being divided up. Think of it this way: the word "dividend" ends with "end," and your end is divided up into two parts.

• The divisor is the thing that performs the dividing. Definitely the alpha male in this relationship.

• The quotient is the answer. All hail the quotient.

Another useful word is multiple. A "multiple of 4" is any number that's evenly divisible by 4. For example, 4, 8, 12, and 16 are multiples of 4. We have to mention here that 396 is also a multiple of 4. He asked us to, and we owed him a favor.

To do the division problem, we're going to work our way across the dividend from left to right, and see how many times the divisor "fits" into each part of it.

First, consider just the first digit of the dividend. Above that digit, we'll write the number of times the divisor fits into that digit:

Hmm...4 doesn't fit into 2 at all (not without a healthy dose of elbow grease), since 4 is bigger than 2. So we write a 0 in that space:


We then subtract the multiple of 4 that fits into 2. In this case, that's 0:

We address the next digit of the dividend by "carrying it down." Lift with your legs, not with your back.

Now, we write how many times 4 fits into 25 in the space above the 5 in the dividend. Since 24 (4 × 6) is the largest multiple of 4 that fits into 25, we write 6 in that space:

Then we subtract the multiple of 4 that fits into 25:

Now we deal with the next digit of the dividend by "carrying it down":

Since 4 fits into 10 twice, we write 2 in the next space of the quotient and then subtract 8 (4 × 2):

While it appears we're out of digits in the dividend, we're not. Looks like we had an extra emergency supply in the basement. We can stick a decimal point onto the end and as many zeros as we need to the right of that. Remember to write the decimal point in the quotient, too. Then we can "carry down" any extra zeros:

We see 4 fits into 20 an even 5 times, so we can write the appropriate number in the appropriate place:

We stop when the subtraction results in a zero. The quotient is our "final answer," Meredith.

250 ÷ 4 = 62.5

We can check our answer by making sure that the quotient multiplied by the divisor equals the dividend: 62.5 × 4 = 250. Since this equation is correct, we know we got the right answer! And we're having a good hair day! Will wonders never cease?

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