Division is one of the four basic arithmetic operations, with the other three operations being addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Students typically begin to learn division in third grade, which can help in learning how to work with more difficult mathematical concepts like ratios and fractions. To help your child learn more about division, check out the resources on our page.
Division is commonly defined as the process of splitting into equal parts or groups. It can also be described as the opposite operation of multiplication.
Symbols and Names
The two symbols commonly used to denote division are ÷ and /. If we wanted to show that nine divided by three is equal to three, we would say that 9 ÷ 3 = 3 or 9 / 3 = 3. Each number in division also has a special name: dividend ÷ divisor = quotient. The dividend is the total number of objects you have, the divisor is the total number of groups you are splitting the dividend in to, and the quotient is the number of objects inside each group.
You can use multiplication to help understand division. For example, we know that 4 × 2 = 8 (4 groups with 2 items in each gives us 8 total items). Therefore, we can also say that 8 divided by 2 would give us 4 (8 items can be divided into 2 groups of 4) or that 8 divided by 4 would give us 2 (8 items can be divided into 4 groups of 2).
Sometimes, division doesn’t work perfectly. Let’s look at 5 ÷ 2. 2 groups of 2 can go into 5, but there is a 1 left over. Therefore, 1 becomes our remainder, and the full operation become 5 ÷ 2 = 2 R1.
Still feel a little rusty on division? Check out our worksheets, games, and exercises to master this math skill!