In yesterday's blog entry, I left out mention of an excellent article entitled The Role of Long Division in the K-12 Curriculum written by David Klein of California State Northridge and R. James Milgram of Stanford. You can find there article here.
Within this article they stress California educational politics, but their arguments transcend the region. I do have to confess that readers with a lack of comfort with numbers will probably not finish this article (but I pointed out yesterday that familiarity with our number system along with addition, multiplication, and subtraction, is a prerequisite to handling long division).
Please remember that long division is an algorithm that historically became the standard process for doing division. It also is an excellent tool in discussing the differences between terminating, repeating, and non-terminating non-repeating decimals, which help distinguish between rational and irrational numbers, which is muddled up by hand-held calculators.
For the record, students with hand held calculators have big trouble handling our national debt (in dollars and cents it's 15 digits long). Ask a student to divide the debt equally among the 50 states and see what they do.
More to come...