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Re: that long division symbol
Posted:
Mar 6, 2003 4:15 PM


victorthecleaner@netscape.net (zach) wrote:
>adstrom@comcast.net (Adam S.) wrote in message
>My MS Word has it under: Insert>Symbol. I'm using it through a thin >client server, which I think is the equivalent of Windows2000 or NT. >Or, I guess I could paste it here and see if google posts it intact. >Then you might be able to copy/paste it: ÃÂ·
That's not the symbol meant. Long division looks like:
________ 12 ) 1234
When I taught high school math, I'd often just hand write a bunch of problems (I have pretty good printing), and run 'em off on a mimeograph machine (remember those) or a photocopier.
Trying to get real fancy in Word or whatever seemed like overkill to me.
It's OK for math to look folksyfriendly, like your teacher hand wrote it. And when you need to use sigmas, greek letters and all the rest of it  then it's *really* tempting to just use a Rolling Writer [tm].
Another option is to write the division problem more how you'd see it in a more advanced math book:
233/11
i.e. just use the slash. The long division symbol is not really an operator so much as a diagram to help organize the algorithm. It's OK to have the *student* draw this as part of solving the problem, whereas the *question* is posed in terms of a more typical fraction, with a slanted or horizontal line between divident and divisor (numerator and denominator).
And you should make it clear how you want your answer. When we first introduce this algorithm, the remainder gets to be a free standing integer. Later, it becomes the numerator, with the divisor as denominator (you lose some kids here), and after that, you keep dividing by adding .0000.... and getting a repeating decimal.
As for this symbol: ÃÂ·  I think it's pretty obscure and should be deemphasized. We mostly use slanted or horizontal lines for division. ÃÂ· goes out of fashion past elementary school. We should also use * for multiplication more often, as it's quasiuniversal in computer languages. Exponentiation might also be represented using ^ or **.
Kirby
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