# Fractions

## 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?

## 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.

## A Limit: Getting the Algebra Right

(A new question of the week) I have often said that calculus class is where many students finally learn algebra, because now algebra is an essential tool, not just something to learn for an exam. This is especially true of a nontraditional student, who may not have taken math recently, or may even be learning …

## One More Way to Find GCF and LCM

There are so many ways to find a Least Common Multiple that I had to omit one method we have been asked about several times. This one doesn’t require finding prime factors, but focuses on division by whatever factors you see. Divide everything by whatever works The first reference to the method I have found …

## Many Ways to Find the Least Common Multiple

Last time, we looked at three ways to find a GCF (Greatest Common Factor). Here we’ll see the corresponding ways to find an LCM (Least Common Multiple); next time we’ll examine another method, which in its full form finds both at once. (Note that the Least Common Denominator of fractions is just the Least Common …

## Three Ways to Find the Greatest Common Factor

Last time, we looked at simplifying a fraction, and the GCF (Greatest Common Factor, also called GCD for Greatest Common Divisor, or HCF for Highest Common Factor) came up. At the end I referred to a source for information about the Euclidean Algorithm for calculating it, and it seems fitting here to look at that …