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Topic: long division
Replies: 17   Last Post: Feb 20, 2001 7:28 AM

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Dr. William Tomhave

Posts: 10
From: Concordia College, Moorhead, MN
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: long division
Posted: Feb 23, 1995 4:53 PM
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On Thu, 23 Feb 1995, Herbert Kasube wrote:

> On Thu, 23 Feb 1995, DENNIS GELLER wrote:

> >
stuff deleted
> I do not think that long division should be dropped from the curriculum
> . There are some everyday applications which which everyone should be
> familiar that require long division.
> For example, if you go to the grocery store and see an item advertised "5
> for $4", you should be able to determine in your head the price for one
> item. We use this idea in comparison shopping all of the time.

But this is not long division. I don't know of anyone who is suggesting
that the capability you describe is unimportant.

> A few years ago, my daughter did an economics paper on pricing and found
> that in many cases the large "economy" size was not the better deal when
> you looked at unit pricing. For example, it was cheaper (per ounce) to
> buy two small jars of peanut butter than one large one. Again, long
> division appears.

Well, it might, but most, if not all, stores now post unit pricing on the
shelf edge where the article's price appears so that the consumer can
compare costs.
> Before someone says that we all carry calculators to the store, I still
> feel that the mental process is important to learn.

The mental process is of course important, but I don't know of many
people who can take $3.89 for 24 ounces and produce a unit price
mentally. I am far more likely to have my $5 calculator with me in the
store than I am to have a pad of paper so that I can do long division.

> As to when this should be learned, I would probably say as early as
> possible (3rd or 4th grade?).
> Thanks for listening to my $.02 worth.
> Herb Kasube
> Department of Mathematics
> Bradley University
> Peoria, IL 61625

Herb, I hope that my response is not seen as a personal attack, as it is
certainly not meant to be one. I strongly concur with your position that
a reasonable knowledge of the process of division, along with appropriate
estimation strategies, is part of mathematics especially where
computation hits the "real world". However, I fail to see that this is
an argument for the long division algorithm. When the numbers are simple
enough to do mentally it is highly unlikely that we would use the long
division algorithm to produce the results.

Thanks for letting me put in my $0.02 also. This has been an interesting
strand to share with a Mathematics Methods class!

William K. (Bill) Tomhave
Mathematics and Computer Science
Concordia College
Moorhead, Minnesota 56562

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