You said you did partition your drive into two partitions. Did you format the new partition? Did you leave it as free space? I'm guessing you formatted the new partition, possibly with NTFS.
Generally most installers want you to leave the space as free space. When you do the install, the distro will look at the disk, find the free space, and ask if this is where the linux system is to go. In linux '/' is where the root file system goes. I would also suggest you create a swap partition, about double the installed ram is enough, and one for /home. Home is where all you user stuff goes.
You will be given an opportunity during the install to format the new / file system with one of the linux supported file systems. Swap has its own file system, and home can be formatted with any linux supported file system.
hope this helps.