Q&A #4130

European long division

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From: Pat Ballew (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 14, 2000 at 17:35:37
Subject: Re: European long division

I was not familiar with a significantly different approach in either place, and I work with teachers all over the world, so to be sure, I wrote to a discussion group that has teachers from almost every part of the globe. Here is a response I got from a friend from the Netherlands who has been a Math Doctor for a long time and is a VERY good mathematician and educator. The method is only a minor difference from the one we use here. If I learn more, I will forward that to you as well. Sorry I could not be more help... ------------------Flo wrote------------------------------ Hi, Pat, I don't believe that in Europe and South America a "different" (from the USuAl) algorithm is used. I do know that here, I live and teach in the Netherlands, we write down a long division in a different way. The division of 162318 by 78 is written down as: 78 / 162318 \ 2081 156 --- 631 624 --- 78 78 -- 0 Something else: I have read about experiments of teaching long division in primary schools in a more flexible and less algorithmic approach. This method can be more like the way you calculate divisions by head. I don't know whether this method has made it or is making it to more general use in class, since I teach in secondary school only. Here is an example of a division in this method: Divide 1776 by 12. 12 1776 1200 100x ---- 576 600 50x --- -24 -12 -1x --- -12 -12 -1x --- ------ + 0 148 Of course this method is meant to let pupils start with any approach, and let them gain better strategies. For instance, I used negative numbers here, while when you start explaining this for the first couple of times you shouldn't. More gifted children could use them later on to improve their _speed_. The _oldfashioned_ long division is more like a computer algorithm, while in this method pupils might learn to have more 'feeling' for numbers. Kind regards, Floor van Lamoen, Goes, the Netherlands. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks for writing... Hope this has helped some... -Pat Ballew, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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