How to use the Base 10 method to divide

How to use the Base 10 method to divide

I’m sat at my desk, attempting to get some work done, but secretly listening to the little lady’s live reading lesson. It has taken me straight back to my childhood. Listening to an adult read to you is like meditation. I glanced over at her laptop and the majority of her classmates appear bored or distracted by something more interesting on their workspace. 

If only they knew what as adults we understand. Appreciation, patience, relaxation and how nice it is to have somebody else do something so wonderful for you. 

While I can’t speak for every school, I can talk about the two schools my three attend. With very little preparation time, they have certainly put together a well thought out and structured online learning curriculum. The boys spend most of their days in live lesson’s. This alone keeps them engaged a lot more, compared to the original lockdown

The little lady has a good mix of live sessions and structured work from pre-recorded videos. It was during one of these lessons, that I realised that potentially I needed to go back to primary school.

Base 10

Having just spent roughly an hour being taught base ten via a combination of my ten years old and YouTube, I can finally say I have mastered it. 

What is Base 10

Base 10 is another name for the decimal number system we use every day. The numbers 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 are the base 10 numerals. We can only count to 9 without the need to add another numeral or use two digits. So for number 48, we use 4 tens and 8 units or numerals. 

How to use the Base 10 method to divide

If we use the above example of 48 and pretend that is 48 apples. We want to share those apples with two people. Each person would receive 2 tens and 4 units. Therefore, each person would get 24 apples.  

So, after an emotional, tense and downright stressful period of scratching our heads and plodding our way through a maths lesson. We decided there must be an easier way. 

And there is.

Base 10 with Lego

With three kids in the house, we have a ton of Lego. Grabbing some of it,  we sat at the desk and started with a

How to use the Base 10 method to divide
How to use the Base 10 method to divide

flat bit that was 10 x 10. Actually, it was two bits, one was 6×10 and the other 4×10 because we couldn’t find a 10×10. 

We then searched and collected 10 pieces that were 10×1 (the tens) and finally, a whole load of 1×1 pieces (the units/numerals).

Starting with the 10×10 piece, we counted and double-checked and it equally 100. We then counted and there were ten columns across. Understanding the tens, we used the 10×1 pieces and little 1×1 pieces to work on various different numbers. 

Three 10×1 and six 1×1 would equal 36 (3 tens and 6units/numerals). Five 10×1’s and eight 1×1’s is 58 or 5 tens and 8 units. You get the point, I’m sure.

How to use the Base 10 method to divide
3 tens and 6 units

So you want to use base 10 to divide?

Using the same 36 above, let’s divide that by 3. 

Simply by splitting the bits of Lego equally, it became clear very quickly that the answer was 12. Or, 1 ten and 2 units. Boom! The little lady (and myself), finally got it.

To make it a little more complicated. If you have 45 and wanted to divide by 3. You can move three of the tens to separate piles, but you are left with 5 singles and 1 ten. In this instance, the little lady counted and using her time’s table split the number by 3.  Resulting in three pile of 15 (1 ten and 5 units in each).

The little lady really enjoyed doing it like this and we spent a good few extra hours practising our dividing using the base ten method and guess what? It was actually fun!

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t even know that a base 10 method existed or what it was. I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination. But we have had some fun (and tears) learning it. 

I also wasn’t expecting to create a ‘How To’ post either. I appreciate that it is a little niche, but you never know, it might help at least one other person……………somewhere and somewhen. I may even attempt a how-to video over on my TikTok account at some point.

If only I understood the grammar as well.

Oh! why you are here, why not go and check out my latest recipes too!

[cooked-browse columns=”5″ search=”false” pagination=”false” show=”5″]

Featured image by Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash