Lesson plan

Division Word Problems

Freshen up on your understanding of division word problems with long division and one-digit divisors! Use this lesson to help students identify key division terms and solve word problems.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Deciphering Division Word Problems pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Deciphering Division Word Problems pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify key division terms in word problems to help solve long division problems with one-digit divisors.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Write the following problem on the board and ask students to solve the problem in pairs: "Four friends went to a camp that cost a total of $480. They split the amount equally between each other. How much money did each friend pay for the camp?"
  • Choose students to share their answers and how they solved the problem. Highlight the question they answered, the equations they used, and the important information and keywords as you jot down notes from their explanations on the board.
  • Ask for competing ideas from students and have students turn and talk to their partners about what they think they'll learn today.
  • Model finding the correct answer to the problem.
  • Tell students today they'll review how to solve long division word problems and make a list of keywords that indicate they need to divide to solve the problems.
(10 minutes)
  • Define division key terms as hints within word problems that tell a reader they need to divide and that show which numbers are important.
  • Write the following word problem on the board: "Manny sold 56 boxes of cards to 4 different stores. The buyers all bought the same number of boxes. How many boxes did each store purchase?" Model circling key terms (e.g., "bought same number," "4 stores," "each store") and solving the problem with an equation (e.g., 56 ÷ 4 = 14).
  • Explain to students how the key terms lead you to believe you needed to divide and draw a picture or use manipulatives to practice the vocabulary and model the calculations.
  • Place the chart paper on the board with the title "Division Key Terms" on the top. Ask students to share some of the key terms that let them know they need to divide to solve the problem (i.e., "group," "each ____ (noun)," "split equally"). Refer to the key terms in the introduction problem as well.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to find partnerships to complete some word problems using the Division Word Problems with One-Digit Divisors exercise.
  • Distribute scrap paper and ask students to take notes on the division key terms that let them know they need to divide and show their equations on the board.
  • Allow students to complete at least 6 problems together and brainstorm their processes with their partners. Make sure each partner completes every problem on their paper.
  • Refer to the Division Key Terms chart paper and ask students to share new words to add to the list. Correct misconceptions and ask follow-up questions as necessary.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Word Problems: Division worksheet. Allow students to complete the problems on their own.
  • Ask students to compare their answers with partners and adjust them as necessary. Ask them to explain to each other why they think their answers are correct.


  • Pre-teach key terms and ideas surrounding standard division before they tackle long division. Then ask students to compare the two types of division to understand the processes better.
  • Allow students to complete lesson problems and compare answers with partners. Ask them to explain their process to their partner to show understanding.
  • Pair students with a sympathetic partner that can explain how to solve a problem.


  • Challenge students to solve problems that have two-digit divisors (see optional materials).
  • Allow them to explain their process to the class and answer student questions about the word problems.
  • Ask students to create their own word problem with one-digit divisors and have them switch with a partner to solve the problem. Challenge them to use the key terms for one problem and exclude the key terms for another problem. Then, ask them which problem was easier to write.
(6 minutes)
  • Write the following word problem on the board: "Mrs. Mejia has 48 mini marshmallows. She wants to split the marshmallows equally between two groups. How many marshmallows will each group receive?"
  • Distribute a sheet of paper to each student.
  • Ask students to solve the problem showing all their work and writing the key terms on their paper.
(4 minutes)
  • Display the chart paper with the division key words. Ask students to add to the list based on the worksheet and exercise activities.
  • Choose a student to explain the importance of looking for key terms when reading word problems (e.g., identify the divisors and dividends, highlight key information that is necessary, determine what to do to solve the problem, etc.).

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