Bus Stop Method For Long Division Made Easy

Child learning Bus Stop Method
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It's remarkable how when you're faced with helping children with their maths homework, much more comes flooding back to you than what you first thought.

The 'bus stop' method is a tried and tested way of doing long division when you're asked to divide larger numbers by two or three-digit numbers, as well as when a number is being divided by a single digit, known as short division. Bus stop division is simply another name for a step-by-step long division method and is suitable for Key Stage 2 children so Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6.

If you need more Maths help for your Key Stage 2 children, you can check out our classes on Kidadl TV.

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Why Is It Called The 'Bus Stop' Method?

The bracket you need to draw over the 'dividend', the number you're being asked to divide, resembles a bus stop. The long edge shelters the dividend while the short edge, drawn towards the metaphorical ground, separates the 'divisor', the number you're dividing by. This method differs from short division as here you need to draw the bracket on top and work out the sum using a slightly more complex process.

KS2 child learning bus stop method

How To Do The Bus Stop Method With A 2-Digit Divisor?

QUESTION: What is 1,722 ÷ 15?

15│1722

Step A) 15 is too big to go into 1, so carry the 1 to the 7 to make 17. Cross out the big 1 and rewrite it smaller and closer to the 17 if that helps you visually.

Step B) 15 goes into 17 just once so write a 1 above the bracket over the 7. Now, what's the difference between 15 and 17? The answer to that is 2 so write a small 2 alongside the next number which makes 22.

Step C) How many times does 15 go into 22? Just once so write a 1 above the bracket over the 2. Now, the difference between 15 and 22 is 7, so write a small 7 next to the following number.

What we have now is 72, so we must calculate 15 ÷ 72 and use our times tables...

Step D) 15 x 4 = 60 and that's as close as we can get to 72 so now, write 4 above the 72. Now, we must work out the difference between 60 and 72, so do 72 – 60 = 12. But we've run out of numbers so where will we put the 12?

Immediately, add a decimal point after both the 114 and 1722, but after the decimal point below the bracket, put a 0.

Step E) Write a small 12 next to the 0 to make 120. Now, how many times does 15 go into 120? 15 x 8 = 120. Finally! Write 8 above the 120 and there you have it...

ANSWER: 1,722 ÷ 15 = 114.8!

Children learning bus stop method
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Vicky Gayle
Auntie to four nieces and nephews

Auntie to four nieces and nephews, Birmingham. It's very easy to become a passerby in the town or city you live in, Vicky says, so instead, she makes an effort to be a tourist wherever she’s calling “home” that year. A 'yes' person and used to relocating, Vicky will try most new experiences at least once and is known to always be WhatsApping events to her friends. With so many of those friends being mums – Vicky Googles child-friendly activities far more than nights out on the town.