**1.5 Divide Whole Numbers**

The topics covered in this section are:

- Use division notation
- Model division of whole numbers
- Divide whole numbers
- Translate word phrases to math notation
- Divide whole numbers in applications

**1.5.1 Use Division Notation**

So far we have explored addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Now let’s consider division. Suppose you have the $12$ cookies in the figure below and want to package them in bags with $4$ cookies in each bag. How many bags would we need?

You might put $4$ cookies in first bag, $4$ in the second bag, and so on until you run out of cookies. Doing it this way, you would fill $3$ bags.

In other words, starting with the $12$ cookies, you would take away, or subtract, $4$ cookies at a time. Division is a way to represent repeated subtraction just as multiplication represents repeated addition.

Instead of subtracting $4$ repeatedly, we can write

$12 \div 4$

We read this as *twelve divided by four* and the result is the **quotient** of $12$ and $4$. The quotient is $3$ because we can subtract $4$ from $12$ exactly $3$ times. We call the number being divided the **dividend** and the number dividing it the **divisor**. In this case, the dividend is $12$ and the divisor is $4$.

In the past you may have used the notation 4)12, but this division can also be written as $12 \div 4 , 12/4, \frac{12}{4}$. In each case the $12$ is the dividend and the $4$ is the divisor.

**Operation Symbols for Division**

To represent and describe division, we can use symbols and words.

Operation | Notation | Expression | Read as | Result |
---|---|---|---|---|

Division | $\div$ $\frac{a}{b}$ b)a $a/b$ | $12 \div 4$ $\frac{12}{4}$ 4)12 $12/4$ | Twelve divided by four | the quotient of $12$ and $4$ |

Division is performed on two numbers at a time. When translating from math notation to English words, or English words to math notation, look for the words *of* and *and* to identify the numbers.

**Example 1**

Translate from math notation to words:

- $64 \div 8$
- $\frac{42}{7}$
- 4)28

**Solution**

- We read this as
*sixty-four divided by eight*and the result is*the quotient of sixty-four and eight*. - We read this as
*forty-two divided by seven*and the result is*the quotient of forty-two and seven*. - We read this as
*twenty-eight divided by four*and the result is*the quotient of twenty-eight and four*.

**1.5.2 Model Division of Whole Numbers**

**MANIPULATIVE MATHEMATICS**

Doing the Manipulative Mathematics activity Model Division of Whole Numbers will help you develop a better understanding of dividing whole numbers.

**Example 2**

Model the division: $24 \div 8$.

**Solution**

To find the quotient $24 \div 8$, we want to know how many groups of $8$ are in $24$.

Model the dividend. Start with $24$ counters.

The divisor tell us the number of counters we want in each group. Form groups of $8$ counters.

Count the number of groups. There are $3$ groups.

$24 \div 8 = 3$

**1.5.3 Divide Whole Numbers**

We said that addition and subtraction are inverse operations because one undoes the other. Similarly, division is the inverse operation of multiplication. We know $12 \div 4 = 3$ because $3 \cdot 4 =12$. Knowing all the multiplication number facts is very important when doing division.

We check our answer to division by multiplying the quotient by the divisor to determine if it equals the dividend. In Example 2, we know $24 \div 8 = 3$ is correct because $3 \cdot 8 =24$.

**Example 3**

Divide. Then check by multiplying:

- $42 \div 6$
- $\frac{72}{9}$
- 7)63

**Solution**

1. | $42 \div 6$ |

Divide $42$ by $6$. | $7$ |

Check by multiplying. $7 \cdot 6$ | |

$42$✓ | |

2. | $\frac{72}{9}$ |

Divide $72$ by $9$. | $8$ |

Check by multiplying. $8 \cdot 9$ | |

$72$✓ | |

3. | 7)63 |

Divide $63$ by $7$. | $9$ |

Check by multiplying. $9 \cdot 7$ | |

$63$✓ |

What is the quotient when you divide a number by itself?

$\frac{15}{15} = 1 $ because $1 \cdot 15 = 15$

Dividing any number (except $0$) by itself produces a quotient of $1$. Also, any number divided by $1$ produces a quotient of the number. These two ideas are stated in the Division Properties of One.

**DIVISION PROPERTIES OF ONE**

Any number (except $0$) divided by itself is one. | $a \div a = 1$ |

Any number divided by one is the same number. | $a \div 1 = a$ |

**Example 4**

Divide. Then check by multiplying:

- $11 \div 11$
- $\frac{19}{1}$
- 1)7

**Solution**

1. | $11 \div 11$ |

A number divided by itself is $1$. | $1$ |

Check by multiplying. $1 \cdot 11$ | |

$11$✓ | |

2. | $\frac{19}{1}$ |

A number divided by $1$ equals itself. | $19$ |

Check by multiplying. $19 \cdot 1$ | |

$19$✓ | |

3. | 1)7 |

A number divided by $1$ equals itself. | $7$ |

Check by multiplying. $7 \cdot 1$ | |

$7$✓ |

Suppose we have $\$0$, and want to divide it among $3$ people. How much would each person get? Each person would get $\$0$. Zero divided by any number is $0$.

Now suppose that we want to divide $\$10$ by $0$. That means we would want to find a number that we multiply by $0$ to get $10$. This cannot happen because $0$ times any number is $0$. Division by zero is said to be *undefined*.

These two ideas make up the Division Properties of Zero.

**DIVISION PROPERTIES OF ZERO**

Zero divided by any number is $0$. | $0 \div a = 0$ |

Dividing a number by zero is undefined. | $a \div 0$ undefined |

Another way to explain why division by zero is undefined is to remember that division is really repeated subtraction. How many times can we take away $0$ from $10$? Because subtracting 0 will never change the total, we will never get an answer. So we cannot divide a number by $0$.

**Example 5**

Divide. Then check by multiplying:

- $0 \div 3$
- $10/0$

**Solution**

1. | $0 \div 3$ |

Zero divided by any number is zero. | $0$ |

Check by multiplying. $0 \cdot 3$ | |

$0$✓ | |

2. | $10/0$ |

Division by zero is undefined. | undefined |

When the divisor or the dividend has more than one digit, it is usually easier to use the 4)12 notation. This process is called long division. Let’s work through the process by dividing $78$ by $3$.

Divide the first digit of the dividend, $7$, by the divisor, $3$. | |

The divisor $3$ can go into $7$ two times since $2 \times 3 = 6$. Write the $2$ above the $7$ in the quotient. | |

Multiply the $2$ in the quotient by $3$ and write the product, $6$, under the $7$. | |

Subtract that product from the first digit in the dividend. Subtract $7-6$. Write the difference, $1$, under the first digit in the dividend. | |

Bring down the next digit of the dividend. Bring down the $8$. | |

Divide $18$ by the divisor, $3$. The divisor $3$ goes into $18$ six times. Write $6$ in the quotient above the $8$. | |

Multiply the $6$ in the quotient by the divisor and write the product, $18$, under the dividend. Subtract $18$ from the $18$. |

We would repeat the process until there are no more digits in the dividend to bring down. In this problem, there are no more digits to bring down, so the division is finished.

So $78 \div 3 =26$

Check by multiplying the quotient times the divisor to get the dividend. Multiply $26 \times 3$ to make sure that product equals the dividend, $78$.

It does, so our answer is correct.

**How To: Divide Whole Numbers**

- Divide the first digit of the dividend by the divisor. If the divisor is larger than the first digit of the dividend, divide the first two digits of the dividend by the divisor, and so on.
- Write the quotient above the dividend.
- Multiply the quotient by the divisor and write the product under the dividend.
- Subtract that product from the dividend.
- Bring down the next digit of the dividend.
- Repeat from Step 1 until there are no more digits in the dividend to bring down.
- Check by multiplying the quotient times the divisor.

**Example 6**

Divide $2,596 \div 4$. Then check by multiplying:

**Solution**

Let’s rewrite the problem to set it up for long division. | |

Divide the first digit of the dividend, $2$, by the divisor, $4$. | |

Since $4$ does not go into $2$, we use the first two digits of the dividend and divide $25$ by $4$. The divisor $4$ goes into $25$ six times. | |

We write the $6$ in the quotient above the $5$. | |

Multiply the $6$ in the quotient by the divisor $4$ and write the product, $24$, under the first two digits in the dividend. | |

Subtract that product from the first two digits in the dividend. Subtract $25-24$. Write the difference, $1$, under the second digit in the dividend. | |

Now bring down the $9$ and repeat these steps. There are $4$ fours in $19$. Write the $4$ over the $9$. Multiply the $4$ by $4$ and subtract this product from $19$. | |

Bring down the $6$ and repeat these steps. There are $9$ fours in $36$. Write the $9$ over the $6$. Multiply the $9$ by $4$ and subtract this product from $36$. | |

so $2,596 \div 4 = 649$ | |

Check by multiplying. |

It equals the dividend, so our answer is correct.

**Example 7**

Divide $4,506 \div 6$. Then check by multiplying:

**Solution**

Let’s rewrite the problem to set it up for long division. | |

First we try to divide $6$ into $4$. | |

Since that won’t work, we try $6$ into $45$. There are $7$ sixes in $45$. We write the $7$ over the $5$. | |

Multiply the $7$ by $6$ and subtract this product from $45$. | |

Now bring down the $0$ and repeat these steps. There are $5$ sixes in $30$. Write the $5$ over the $0$. Multiply the $5$ by $6$ and subtract this product from $30$. | |

Now bring down the $6$ and repeat these steps. There is $1$ six in $6$. Write the $1$ over the $6$. Multiply $1$ by $6$ and subtract this product from $6$. | |

Check by multiplying. |

It equals the dividend, so our answer is correct.

**Example 8**

Divide $7,263 \div 9$. Then check by multiplying:

**Solution**

Let’s rewrite the problem to set it up for long division. | |

First we try to divide $9$ into $7$. | |

Since that won’t work, we try $9$ into $72$. There are $8$ nines in $72$. We write the $8$ over the $2$. | |

Multiply the $8$ by $9$ and subtract this product from $72$. | |

Now bring down the 6 and repeat these steps. There are $0$ nines in $6$. Write the $0$ over the $6$. Multiply the $0$ by $9$ and subtract this product from $6$. | |

Now bring down the $3$ and repeat these steps. There is $7$ nines in $63$. Write the $7$ over the $3$. Multiply $7$ by $9$ and subtract this product from $63$. | |

Check by multiplying. |

It equals the dividend, so our answer is correct.

So far all the division problems have worked out evenly. For example, if we had $24$ cookies and wanted to make bags of $8$ cookies, we would have $3$ bags. But what if there were $28$ cookies and we wanted to make bags of $8$? Start with the $28$ cookies as shown in the Figure below.

Try to put the cookies in groups of eight as in the Figure below.

There are $3$ groups of eight cookies, and $4$ cookies left over. We call the $4$ cookies that are left over the remainder and show it by writing R4 next to the $3$. (The R stands for remainder.)

To check this division we multiply $3$ times $8$ to get $24$, and then add the remainder of $4$.

**Example 9**

Divide $1,439 \div 4$. Then check by multiplying:

**Solution**

Let’s rewrite the problem to set it up for long division. | |

First we try to divide $4$ into $1$. Since that won’t work, we try $4$ into $14$. There are $3$ fours in $14$. We write the $3$ over the $4$. | |

Multiply the $3$ by $4$ and subtract this product from $14$. | |

Now bring down the $3$ and repeat these steps. There are $5$ fours in $23$. Write the $5$ over the $3$. Multiply the $5$ by $4$ and subtract this product from $23$. | |

Now bring down the $9$ and repeat these steps. Write the $9$ over the $9$. Multiply the $9$ by $4$ and subtract this product from $39$. There are no more numbers to bring down, so we are done. The remainder is $3$. | |

Check by multiplying. |

So $1,439 \div 4$ is $359$ with a remainder of $3$. Our answer is correct.

**Example 10**

Divide $1,461 \div 13$. Then check by multiplying:

**Solution**

Let’s rewrite the problem to set it up for long division. | 13)1,461 |

First we try to divide $13$ into $1$. Since that won’t work, we try $13$ into $14$. There are $1$ thirteen in $14$. We write the $1$ over the $4$. | |

Multiply the $1$ by $13$ and subtract this product from $14$. | |

Now bring down the 6 and repeat these steps. There is $1$ thirteen in $16$. Write the $1$ over the $6$. Multiply the $1$ by $13$ and subtract this product from $16$. | |

Now bring down the $1$ and repeat these steps. There are $2$ thirteens in $31$. Write the $2$ over the $1$. Multiply the $2$ by $13$ and subtract this product from $31$. There are no more numbers to bring down, so we are done. The remainder is $5$. $1,462 \div 13$ is $112$ with a remainder of $5$. | |

Check by multiplying. |

Our answer is correct.

**Example 11**

Divide and check by multiplying: $74,521 \div 241$.

**Solution**

Let’s rewrite the problem to set it up for long division. | 241)74,521 |

First we try to divide $241$ into $7$. Since that won’t work, we try $241$ into $745$. Since $2$ divides into $7$ three times, we try $3$. Since $3 \times 241 = 723$, we write the $3$ over the $5$ in $745$. Note that $4$ would be too large because $4 \times 241 = 964$, which is greater than $745$. | |

Multiply the $3$ by $241$ and subtract this product from $745$. | |

Now bring down the $2$ and repeat these steps. $241$ does not divide into $222$. We write a $0$ over the $2$ as a placeholder and then continue. | |

Now bring down the $1$ and repeat these steps. Try $9$. Since $9 \times 241 = 2,169$, we write the $9$ over the $1$. Multiply the $9$ by $241$ and subtract this product from $2,221$. | |

There are no more numbers to bring down, so we are finished. The remainder is $52$. So $74,521 \div 241$ is $309$ with a remainder of $52$. | |

Check by multiplying. |

Sometimes it might not be obvious how many times the divisor goes into digits of the dividend. We will have to guess and check numbers to find the greatest number that goes into the digits without exceeding them.

**1.5.4 Translate Word Phrases to Math Notation**

Earlier in this section, we translated math notation for division into words. Now we’ll translate word phrases into math notation. Some of the words that indicate division are given in the table below.

Operation | Notation | Expression | Read as | Result |
---|---|---|---|---|

Division | $\div$ $\frac{a}{b}$ b)a $a/b$ | $12 \div 4$ $\frac{12}{4}$ 4)12 $12/4$ | Twelve divided by four | the quotient of $12$ and $4$ |

**Example 12**

Translate and simplify: the quotient of $51$ and $17$.

**Solution**

The word *quotient* tells us to divide.

the quotient of $51$ and $17$

Translate. $51 \div 17$

Divide. $3$

We could just as correctly have translated *the quotient of* $51$ *and* $17$ using the notation

4)12 or $\frac{51}{17}$.

**1.5.5 Divide Whole Numbers in Applications**

We will use the same strategy we used in previous sections to solve applications. First, we determine what we are looking for. Then we write a phrase that gives the information to find it. We then translate the phrase into math notation and simplify it to get the answer. Finally, we write a sentence to answer the question.

**Example 13**

Cecelia bought a $160$-ounce box of oatmeal at the big box store. She wants to divide the $160$ ounces of oatmeal into $8$-ounce servings. She will put each serving into a plastic bag so she can take one bag to work each day. How many servings will she get from the big box?

**Solution**

We are asked to find the how many servings she will get from the big box.

Write a phrase. | $160$ ounces divided by $8$ ounces |

Translate to math notation. | $160 \div 8$ |

Simplify by dividing. | $20$ |

Write a sentence to answer the question. | Cecelia will get $20$ servings from the big box. |

**Licenses and Attributions**

**Licenses and Attributions**

*CC Licensed Content, Original*

*Revision and Adaptation. Provided by: Minute Math. License: CC BY 4.0*

*CC Licensed Content, Shared Previously*

*Marecek, L., Anthony-Smith, M., & Mathis, A. H. (2020). Introduction to Whole Numbers. In Prealgebra 2e. OpenStax. https://openstax.org/books/prealgebra-2e/pages/1-5-divide-whole-numbers. License: CC BY 4.0. Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/prealgebra-2e/pages/1-introduction*