Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Nicole from Greenwood, IN. Nicole Wonders, “Why is a quotient called a quotient?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Nicole!
Have you ever noticed how often we use math in real life? All those math facts you learn in school are so useful! How could we figure out the number of bones in our bodies without addition? We would never know how much change to expect back at the movie theater without subtraction. There's at least one more math concept we use all the time. Can you guess what it is? Here's an example:
Imagine you've invited three friends over for dinner. The four of you make a pizza. After taking the pizza out of the oven, you cut it into twelve slices. How many pieces of pizza does each of you get to eat? That's right, you get three slices each!
Here's another one: Pretend there are eighteen kids in your class, including you. At recess, you play a game of kickball that will include everyone in the class. If the teacher will be the referee and you need two teams to play, then how many kids should there be on each team? If you answered nine per team, you're right!
Have you figured it out? That's right, we're talking about division! As you can see, there are lots of times you might use division in the real world. We use division every day in cooking, sports, and even finances!
In every division problem, we have to find something called a quotient. A quotient is the solution of a division problem, just like a sum is the solution of an addition problem. The quotient is the number you get when you divide a dividend by a divisor. It can be hard to keep all those words straight! Here's what a division problem looks like:
Many people think division is difficult when they first learn about it in school. Some division problems are definitely hard to solve! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to better understand how to find a quotient.
Sometimes, people struggle with division because they don't understand what it means. When you're faced with a division problem, remember that division is just making equal groups. Just like the kickball example, finding a quotient requires you to split a number into equal categories. Think of it as the opposite of multiplication!
What if the number can't be split evenly into the given quantity of groups? That means you have a remainder! For instance, imagine you invited four friends for dinner instead of three. When you split the twelve-slice pizza between the five of you, you can't divide the entire thing into perfectly equal groups. Instead, each person would have two pieces, and there would be a remainder of two pieces. Who gets those last two slices? That's up to you and your guests!
Can you think of any other ways to use division? Try splitting a bag of candy with a friend or cutting a cake so that everyone gets an equal amount. What other everyday items can you divide? The possibilities are endless!