How to Do Box Method Division in 5 Steps

July 13, 2022 2 min read

Are you an upper elementary teacher who is stressing out over long division? Interested in learning how to do box method division? This easy, step-by-step guide will have you doing long division with minimal stress in no time!

How to do box method division in 5 quick steps

Box Method Division: Why Does it Matter?

As discussed in my last post, the box method is an alternative strategy for solving long division problems, including less headache memorization. You will set the problem up in a ‘box’ format.

This method is more straightforward, organized, and conceptual for students at this grade level. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of each step.


First, draw a large square. Make 1 column per digit of the dividend. Write the divisor just outside the square, to the left of the first digit of the dividend.

Setup of the box method process is shown. This is optional. There is a box with 3 columns set up.

Step #1 (optional)

Students will look at the divisor first and list all the multiplication facts for that number. Students should multiply all factors from 0 to 9. I recommend this step because it allows for quicker retrieval in later steps.

Step 1 of the box method division steps is shown. There is a box with three columns set up and multiplication facts to the right.

Step #2

Students will consult their multiplication facts to divide the divisor and the first digit of the dividend. At this time, I have students consult their multiplication facts from Step 1 to decide, ‘Which fact shows a product that does not exceed the digit(s) in the dividend column but is closest to it?’

OPTIONAL: Have students circle this fact.

Step 3 of the box method division steps is shown. Students write the remaining factor in this step.

Step #3

Students will write the remaining factor from the circled multiplication fact above the first column. In the same column, students will subtract the product. Students will move the difference to the top of the next column, right in front of the digit already there. This will form a new, two-digit number altogether.

OPTIONAL: Have students draw an arrow to indicate the placement of this number.

step 3 of the box method process is shown. Students will write the remaining factor here.

Step #4

Students will now repeat Steps 1-3 for each of the remaining columns.

Step 4 of the box method process is shown. Students will complete the process.

Step #5

The difference remaining in the last column will be the remainder (if applicable). Students can write this number to the right of the columns, accompanied by an ‘R.’

Step 5 of the box method process is shown with students applying the remainder.

How to Do Box Method Division – Video Format

If you’re more of a visual learner, I got you!

See my TikTok video below, where I walk you through each step listed above.

Easy Enough, Right?

If you are still lost in the sauce, I suggest reading about WHY we implement the box method instead of the standard long division method.

Want to start small and in need of differentiated box method division worksheets? I can help, too!

Interested in a free set of box method division worksheets with self-checking jokes? Click the image to download your copy today!

P.S. – You can check out all my done-for-you box method division resources, set up with color-coding and organization of columns already implemented!

You’ll wanna read these, too!


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