Year 4 Short Division
Probably one of the hardest aspects of maths that children meet in Year 4 is short division. Short division is an abridged version of long division, involving more mental arithmetic but less written work.
The division calculation is started in the same way as long division, leaving space for the answer above the top bar. The rest is a step by step process, usually repeated several times which is quick and efficient. However, children do need to have some important skills at their fingertips. These are:
• a sound knowledge of times tables
• the ability to subtract at least 2-digit numbers ‘in their heads’
• the ability to estimate how many times one number will ‘go’ into another
• understand that multiplication is the inverse of division
Before even attempting the short method of division it is important to ensure that your child has the necessary skills above. If they don’t then time would be more valuably spent brushing up on these skills. If they do, then take a look at our short division pages, including how to go about it and plenty of new practice sheets which have been published this week.
An interesting question is which method, short or long, should be introduced first. Many years ago, when I was at school, I was taught the short method first for dividing by single digit numbers. The long method was only introduced for dividing by larger numbers. Over the past 20 years or so it has become fashionable to teach the long division method first as it clearly explains all the steps that need to be taken, before going on to short division. However, the latest national curriculum has short division coming before long division. It implies that long division is only used when dividing by larger numbers (at least 2-digits).