Teacher2Teacher Q&A #4130

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: European long division

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From: Chris

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001102219:30:41
Subject: a German algorithm

I teach in the U.S., where we generally use the "little house" algorithm: 3122 --------- 15) 46830 45 __ 18 15 __ 33 30 __ 30 30 __ 0 However, over the last few years, I have had several students who grew up in Germany. They did many algorithms differently from the way we do it, here. Long division was one of them...they do the division algorithm as a multiplication problem. For example: 3122 15 x ______ = 46830 45 __ 33 30 __ 30 30 __ 0 They actually went through essentially the same thinking process. They just wrote the algorithm differently on their paper. The most interesting thing about this, to me, was the fact that some of my students, who had previously not understood how to do a division problem, understood the division algorithm in this manner. I think this is because seventh graders do not think of division as divsion. They naturally think of division as multiplication, and the German algorithm does that, as well.

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