Grade: Elementary
Subject: Mathematics

#2403. Colorful Long Division

Mathematics, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Oct 14 09:24:00 PDT 2001 by Debbie Ingle (
Rossville Elementary School 4th grade, Rossville, GA
Materials Required: Four colors (chalk or markers for teacher) and colored pencils for students
Activity Time: Varies
Concepts Taught: To help students differentiate among the four steps of division, I teach them to color code steps

When I first introduce the concept of division to my 4th graders, I walk them through the entire process. I want them to understand the concept and the eventual outcome.

After showing them the process, I break division down into the four steps:
1. divide
2. multiply
3. subtract
4. bring down
(I also have an arrow going from "bring down" back up to divide)

As I write these on the board I am careful to write them in different colors. I then walk students through a problem using the corresponding colors as I work the problem on the board.

Then take each step and allow practice on that one step for as long as the class seems to need it adding steps as students are ready.

Students get excited about using color and must think about the process to know which color to use. I have found that as the need for the color diminishes, students will drop using it on their own.