Division is the trickiest of the four basic operations. Word problems are also quite difficult for many students. Throw in interpreting remainders, and you have a Trifecta of Confusion in Elementary Mathland. That is unfortunate, because interpreting remainders is an important skill, and it is also part of the Common Core Standards.
The trick to interpreting remainders is to really understand the problem and what is needed for the answer. It also helps to realize that there are only three choices:
- Round it (add one more to the answer so that there are no leftovers)
- Drop it (ignore the remainder – it is not part of the answer at all)
- Share it (divide the remainder evenly and report it is as a fraction or decimal)