# Arithmetic

## Two Word Problems About Factors and Sums

(A new question of the week) A couple recent questions involved factoring numbers, in interesting ways. One involves the volume and perimeter of a block of cubes, and the other involves finding numbers with a given HCF (Highest Common Factor) and sum. Both illustrate thinking through a non-routine problem about factors.

## Multiplication, Division, and Powers of Ten

(A new question of the week) We’ve looked in the past at place values, but here we’ll see some tricks for doing multiplication and division with both decimals and large numbers by moving the decimal point around. The first question is primarily a matter of arithmetic, then the second extends it to the algebraic concept …

## Long Division with Zero, Revisited

(A new question of the week) One of our first posts, in 2018, was about zeros in long division. But we still get many questions about this issue, and it’s time to dig in deeper. We’ll look here at two of them, answering the twin questions, “When do you put a zero in the quotient …

## Dividing Fractions: Why Invert and Multiply?

Last week, we looked at how to visualize division of fractions; in the process, we saw that you can multiply the first fraction (dividend) by the reciprocal of the second (divisor): “invert and multiply”. Here I want to look at a few of the many times we have been asked how to do it or …

## Dividing Fractions: Can You Picture It?

We’ve looked at what it means to multiply fractions, including whole and mixed numbers; now it’s time for division of fractions. We’ll start here with pictures, similar to what we did for multiplication, but a little more complicated. Then next time, we’ll see additional ways to understand why we “invert and multiply”.

## Multiplying Fractions by Whole or Mixed Numbers

Last week we looked at how to multiply fractions, and why we do it that way. But what do we do when one of the numbers is a whole number, or when one or both are mixed numbers? And do we have to do it the way we are taught?

## Fractions and Felonies

(A new question of the week) A recent question involved a word problem about fractions, which will fit in nicely with the current series on fractions. We’ll explore several ways to solve a rather tricky fraction word problem, some avoiding fractions as much as possible, some focusing on the meaning of the fractions, and others …

## Multiplying Fractions

Last week we looked at some questions about multiplication that arise once students learn to multiply fractions or decimals. Let’s turn to the underlying question: How do you multiply fractions, and why do we do it that way? How does cancelling fit in?

## How Can Multiplication Make It Smaller?

A fairly common question arises when students learn to multiply or divide fractions and decimals: They discover that multiplication, which always used to make numbers larger (2, multiplied by 3, becomes 6), now can make them smaller (2, multiplied by 1/2, becomes 1). How can that be? Here we’ll look at a few answers we’ve …

## Multiplying Fractions and Decimals

(A new question of the week) Let’s look at a quick question from mid-September, that had a number of different answers. In some ways, this is an easy question; but we’ll take it a little further, so keep reading to the end. Can I multiply a fraction and a decimal? Azraf asked: Can I multiply …