Math Story : Division By Zero Property

Squarho’s Trouble

It is a beautiful day. Squarho has borrowed Mr Division, a math gadget from Uncle Math. He wants to use it throughout the day and have some fun.

“Let me add some random numbers and see if Mr Division can divide them,” he thinks. 

To start with, he wants to divide 8 with 2. He quickly grabs some cups and scans them through it. It takes the count as 8, and he then inputs 2. “4” announces Mr Division.

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“Ah, nice! Let me try a bigger number now,” he says. This time he wants to divide  20 by 10. So he scans  20 balls first and then inputs 10. ”2” announced in Mr Division. Squarho is impressed.  

“Ahh! You won’t be able to solve this,” says Squarho. It looks like he has got a tricky question. But what is the question? He scans nothing and inputs 5 later. What do you think is the answer?

“0” announces Mr Division. “Woohoo! Impressive. There was nothing to divide with 5. Nothing means 0. I was dividing 0 with 5. Of Course, the result will be 0 only. You are a genius Mr Division,” he says.

“Let me try a bigger number again,” he thinks. He scans 0 cups and inputs 50 in Mr Division. Can you guess what the answer is again? Of Course 0. If we divide 0 by any number irrespective of how big or small the number is, the result will be 0 itself.  Squarho will remember this trick.

“Alright! Now this one is the toughest. Surely, you won’t be able to solve this,” says Squarho. He scans 9 cups and inputs 0 to trick Mr Division. Do you think it was able to solve this question?

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Yes, of course! But the result was shocking. “Undefined!” announces Mr Division loudly. “Undefined? What does that even mean? And Mr Division only answers in numbers. Then how did it show words this time? Oh no! Did I ruin it?” says Squarho. He is terrified. What will he do now?

“What do I do now? Uncle Math will scold me. Boohoo!” he sobs. DingDong! The doorbell rings. “Oh no! He is here to collect Mr Division. What will I tell him?” says Squarho and goes to open the door apprehensively.

Seeing him worried, Uncle Math asks,” What is wrong with you? Are you okay?” Squarho then explains everything to him. “Haha! Squarho, you are adorable,” says Uncle Math. But Squarho is puzzled.

“Mr Division is alright. When you tried dividing 9 with 0, that means you were dividing 9 with nothing. Does this statement even make sense? Can you understand it? No right. Thus the answer is undefined,” explains Uncle Math. Squarho is relieved but confused yet.

“When I divide 0 with any number, the answer is 0 because here I am dividing nothing with a number. Of Course, the result will be nothing. Whereas If I divide a number with 0 (nothing), I can’t do so. Am I correct?” he says.

“Absolutely right!” says Uncle Math. “Wow! 2 new tricks. These will help me divide even faster now,” says Squarho. Uncle Math agrees with him.

“Use of 0 in Math could be tricky, but understanding its meaning and purpose definitely simplifies its application,” says Uncle Math. Two new division tricks, one smart gadget and a day full of experiments. Squarho had a blast indeed. 

We Learnt That…

  • Dividing 0 with any number, the result will always be 0.
  • We cannot divide any number with 0. The result is undefined.
  • Use of 0 in Math could be tricky, but understanding its meaning and purpose definitely simplifies its application

Let’s Discuss

  • What was Squarho doing?
  • Dividing 0 with any number always gives 0 as the result. Why? Explain.
  • Dividing a number with 0, the result is undefined. Why? Explain. 
  • Squarho verifies his answer after Mr Division solves it. Should we do so?

Please refer this guide by Fun2Do Labs for teaching division properties to kids :