Bus Stop Method For Long Division Made Easy

Vicky Gayle
Dec 12, 2023 By Vicky Gayle
Originally Published on Jul 07, 2020
Child learning Bus Stop Method
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Age: 9-11
Read time: 2.4 Min

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 but is typically introduced in Year 5.

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

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.

Father teaching daughter how to practice long division

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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Written by Vicky Gayle

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Vicky Gayle

Vicky is an avid explorer living in Birmingham and is an auntie to four nieces and nephews. She believes in being a tourist in her own town and enjoys discovering new experiences. She has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Central Lancashire. Vicky loves to share her finds and regularly sends event ideas to her friends. As many of her friends are parents, she is always on the lookout for child-friendly activities to recommend. Vicky is open-minded and willing to try most things at least once.

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