Long division is often considered one of the most challenging topics to teach. Luckily, there are strategies that we can teach to make multi-digit division easier to understand and perform.
The Grid method is one of these strategies.
The Grid Method is intended for those who plan to teach traditional long division. It follows the same steps as traditional long division, but uses a different method of organization. This makes traditional long division easier for some students.
Let’s learn how to perform the Grid Method for long division!
Below, I have included both a video tutorial and step-by-step instructions.
Suppose that we want to solve the equation 324÷2.
First we draw a grid. The number of sections in the grid depends on the number of digits in our dividend. For this equation, our grid will have 3 sections. We write the digits from 324 inside the grid, and we write our divisor (2) on the left side.
Now we ask ourselves, “How many times can 2 go into 3?” The answer is 1, so we write a 1 on top of the grid. We now multiply 1×2 to make 2, and take that 2 away from the 3. This leaves us with 1.
Now we bring that 1 over to the tens place of the next section on the grid. This gives us a 12 in the next section.
Now we ask ourselves, “How many times does 2 go into 12?” The answer is 6, so we write a 6 on top of the grid. Now we multiply 6×2 to make 12, and take that 12 away from 12. This leaves us with 0.
We carry that 0 over to the tens place of the next section on the grid. This doesn’t affect that number, so we still have 4 in the next section.
Now we ask ourselves, “How many times does 2 go into 4?” It goes 2 times, so we write a 2 on top of our grid. Now we multiply 2×2 to make 4, and take that 4 away from the 4. We are left with 0, which means that we have no remainder.
To find the final quotient, we simply list the digits from the top of the grid: 1, 6, 2. So 324÷2=162.
LET’S TRY ANOTHER EXAMPLE
This time we will try an example that has a remainder. It also has more digits that our last example. Notice that when we have more digits in our dividend, we simply extend our grid. Let’s solve 6542÷5.
Here are the steps that we followed to solve this equation:
- Section 1: First we knew that 5 goes into 6 one time, so we wrote a 1 on top. We multiplied 1×5 to make 5, and took that 5 away from the 6, leaving us with a 1. We carried that 1 over to the tens place of the next section. Now we have 15 in that section.
- Section 2: We know that 5 goes into 15 three times, so we wrote a 3 on top. We multiplied 3×5 to make 15 and took that 15 away from the 15, leaving us with 0. We carried that 0 over to the tens place of the next section.
- Section 3: 5 does not go into 4, so we write a 0 on top, multiply 0x5 to make 0, and take that 0 away from the 4. This leaves us with 4. We carry that 4 over to the tens place of the next section, giving us 42 in the final section.
- Section 4: 5 goes into 42 eight times, so we write an 8 on top of the grid. We multiply 8×5 to give us 40, and take that 40 away from the 42, leaving us with 2. This means that our remainder is 2.
- To find our final quotient, we list the numbers from the top of the grid: 1, 3, 0, 8, and then add our remainder of 2. So 6542÷5=1308 R2.
I would love to help you teach the grid method and other division concepts in your classroom. You may find the following resources helpful:
GRID METHOD TASK CARDS
These task cards give students the opportunity to practice the grid method for long division in a variety of different ways. Students will calculate quotients, solve division problems, figure out missing dividends and divisors, think about how to efficiently solve an equation using the grid method, and more. See the Grid Method Task Cards HERE or the Big Bundle of Long Division Task Cards HERE.
THE LONG DIVISION STATION
The Long Division Station is a self-paced, student-centered math station for long division. Students gradually learn a variety of strategies for long division, the grid method being one of them. One of the greatest advantages to this Math Station is that is allows you to target every student and their unique abilities so that everyone is appropriately challenged. See The Long Division Station HERE.