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Contributor: Briana Pincherri. Lesson ID: 11354
Are you ready to move up to dividing numbers that have decimal figures? This lesson points out that it's not that hard! Learn the simple rules to help!
You know how to add, subtract, and multiply with decimals?
Try this lesson to find out!
GOOD NEWS! Dividing decimals is not that tricky, either.
Jump right in to take a look!
The biggest concern with division is that there is one thing you have to look for right off the bat: whether there is a decimal in the dividend, divisor, or both.
Take a minute to review what those terms mean.
Dividend is the total number that is being divided into smaller parts.
Divisor is the number by which another number is divided.
Quotient is the answer you get when dividing one number by another.
5 
125 

↑ 
↑ 

dividend 
divisor 
125 
÷ 
5 
= 

↑ 
↑ 

dividend 
divisor 
As you can see, it doesn't matter which way it is written — the dividend is 125 because it is the total number that is being divided by something else, and 5 is the divisor because it is the number that is dividing the total.
Now that you know which number is the dividend and which number is the divisor, look at how to divide decimals,
Dividing Decimals
If the decimal is in the dividend, do the following.
If the decimal is in the divisor, do the following.
Example 1
1.25  ÷  5  =  
↑  ↑  
dividend  divisor 
Do the division. You can ignore the decimal.
2  5  
5  1  .  2  5  
  1  0  
2  5  
  2  5  
0 
MOVE the decimal straight up into the answer!
0.25
Example 2
125  ÷  0.5  =  
↑  ↑  
dividend  divisor 
Because the decimal is in the divisor, you must move it until you have a whole number. In this case, move the decimal one spot right to make it 5.
Since you moved the decimal 1 spot in the divisor, you also have to move it one spot right in the dividend too, which makes it 1250.
2  5  0  
5  1  2  5  0  
  1  0  
2  5  
  2  5  
0  
  0  
0 
250
Go to the Got It? section to see how well you understood these examples and practice a few more division problems.