Multi-Digit Division

Lesson 2


Solve division word problems that require the interpretation of the remainder. 

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


  • 4.OA.A.3 — Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.

Foundational Standards


  • 3.OA.C.7

  • 3.OA.D.8

Criteria for Success


  1. Solve division word problems within 100 that involve a remainder (MP.4). 
  2. Interpret the remainder in the context of the word problem, including:
    1. Discarding the remainder (such as when finding the number of jump ropes that can be made from a certain length of rope—any remaining rope can’t be used),
    2. Forcing the answer to the next highest whole number (such as when figuring out how many cars are needed to carry a certain number of people—any remaining individuals still need to be transported in another car), and
    3. Having the remainder be the answer to the problem (such as when wanting to know how much Halloween candy the teacher gets to keep after distributing some to students) (MP.1).

Tips for Teachers


“To compute and interpret remainders in word problems (4.OA.A.3), students must reason abstractly and quantitatively (MP.2), make sense of problems (MP.1), and look for and search for the structure (MP.7) in problems with similar interpretations of remainders” (PARCC Model Content Frameworks, Mathematics, Grade 3—11).

Remote Learning Guidance

If you need to adapt or shorten this lesson for remote learning, we suggest prioritizing Anchor Task 1 (benefits from discussion). Find more guidance on adapting our math curriculum for remote learning here.

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Anchor Tasks


Problem 1

Solve the following problems. Think about the main differences between each one. 

  1. A teacher has 21 batteries. Each calculator uses 4 batteries. How many calculators can the teacher fill with batteries? 
  2. Four children can ride in a car. How many cars are needed to take 21 children to the museum?
  3. Ms. Cole wants to share 21 pieces of candy with 4 students. If Ms. Cole gets to eat the pieces of candy that can’t be split evenly, how many pieces of candy will Ms. Cole get? 

Guiding Questions

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Problem 2

  1. Ms. Needham has a cactus at home. She is supposed to water it every fourth day. If she waters it on November 1st, how many times has she watered it 22 days later? 
  2. Sean is switching bedrooms with his brother and needs to pack 28 toys into small boxes. He packs 5 toys in each box. How many boxes does he need?
  3. It takes 8 cups of flour to make a cake. I have 35 cups of flour. If I make as many cakes as possible, how many cups of flour will I have left over? How many more cups of flour would I need to be able to make another cake?

Guiding Questions

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Problem Set & Homework

Discussion of Problem Set

  • How did you decide how to interpret the remainder in each problem? 
  • Look at #2. How muh more money would Monica need to buy another mug? How did you find that?
  • Look at #7. How did you figure out how to write a word problem for each part? How was the remainder interpreted for each one? 

Target Task


A pet store needs to put 23 birds into birdcages. Each birdcage can hold 4 birds. What is the fewest number of cages the pet store needs to hold all the birds? 


Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Spring 2015 Grade 4 Mathematics TestQuestion #1

Spring 2015 Grade 4 Mathematics Test is made available by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. © 2017 Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Accessed March 23, 2018, 1:19 p.m..

Modified by The Match Foundation, Inc.

Mastery Response


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Additional Practice

Unit Practice

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