# Introduction to Fractions

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1 Section 0.6 Contents: Vocabulary of Fractions A Fraction as division Undefined Values First Rules of Fractions Equivalent Fractions Building Up Fractions VOCABULARY OF FRACTIONS Simplifying Fractions Multiplying Fractions Cross Dividing Dividing Fractions Answers Focus Exercises The number on top of the fraction bar is called the numerator, and the number on the bottom is called the denominator. numerator Remember this: denominator. Most fractions that you are going to work with will have a whole number in both the numerator and the denominator. First, let s classify the types of fractions you will see.. A proper fraction s numerator is less than the denominator, such as,, 6. An improper fraction has a numerator that is equal to or greater than the denominator, such as,, 0. A complex fraction is a fraction in which either the numerator or denominator (or both) is, itself, a fraction. such as, and. and.,. The reciprocal of a fraction, A B, is another fraction, B A, as long as A 0. In algebra, it s rare for us to use mixed numbers, like 6 or. Instead, it is much more common to leave improper fractions as they are and not rewrite them as mixed numbers. In algebra, fractions like,, and are fine to leave as they are. A FRACTION AS DIVISION A fraction is another form of division. The fraction bar is another way of expressing division. For example, can also be written. Sometimes the fraction bar is referred to as the division bar. Also, division can be rewritten in terms of multiplication. This is demonstrated in the circular relationship between division and multiplication, on the next page. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

2 We really cannot discuss division without multiplication; the two operations are inverses of each other. When we say, we also mean, How many times will go into? we re suggesting an undeniable relationship between division and multiplication: because In a fractional form we can see a circular relationship: x x UNDEFINED VALUES Applying the basic operations always result in a number of one kind or another. That is, except, when we divide by 0; dividing by 0 (zero) results in an undefined value. Based on the circular relationship between multiplication and division, dividing by zero leads to a situation for which there is no result. We might ask the question, divided by 0 equals what? We d never get a satisfactory answer. 0? 0 x? 0 x? Of course, since 0 A 0, no matter the value of A, the product of 0 and any other number will never be, so there is no satisfactory result, no defined value. We say, therefore, that 0 is undefined, and that a denominator may never be 0. We write this as, Rule for Division by Zero If A stands for Any number, then A 0, or A 0, is undefined. This is true for every value of A. Another way to express this rule is: the denominator of a fraction can never be zero. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

3 Can the numerator ever be zero? Let s take a look at this question using the circular relationship. 0 6? 0 6 x? 6 x? 0 In this case, the question mark is 0; in other words, Therefore, So, in short: If A is any number (except 0), then 0 A 0. Think about it Why does it say except 0 in the box above? Answer: Because, if A can be 0, then 0 would be in the denominator of the fraction 0 A, giving 0, which is undefined. 0 Can a fraction that has 0 in the numerator, like 0, have a reciprocal? Why or why not? Answer: No. A number like 0 cannot have a reciprocal because the reciprocal, 0, would have 0 in the denominator. Exercise : For each, identify the value; if there is no value, write undefined. 0 6 b) 0 0 d) 0 e) 0 f) 0 0 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

4 THE FIRST RULES OF FRACTIONS To get started, let's look at some of the rules involved in manipulating fractions. THE FIRST RULES OF FRACTIONS Rule : Rule : a a a Any number (except 0) divided by itself is. a Any number divided by is the number itself. Rule : a b a b Multiplying by doesn't change the value. (This is true for any number, not just fractions.) Rule : a b c d a c b d Rule of multiplication of fractions Example : Multiply these fractions using Rule #. 0 b) 6 d) 6 Exercise : Multiply these fractions using Rule #. 6 b) 0 d) e) 6 f) Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

5 EQUIVALENT FRACTIONS Two fractions that have the same value even though they may look different are considered to be equivalent fractions. There are two ways to create equivalent fractions: () We can build up a fraction (using a combination of Rules and ) by multiplying it by. For example, can be multiplied by (Rule ) so as not to change its value; we can make look like (Rule ) if we want, so we get 6 So, is equivalent to 6 (even though they look different). () We can simplify or reduce a fraction by dividing both numerator and denominator by the same value, their greatest common factor (GCF). For example, 6 can be reduced by a factor of because the GCF of and 6 is ; 6 6. So, 6 is equivalent to (even though they look different). Here is the rule used to simplify fractions: Rule : a b a c b c If we divide the numerator and denominator by a common factor, c, we are able to maintain equivalent fractions. We ll look at simplifying fractions in a little bit, but first let s look at... Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

6 BUILDING UP FRACTIONS We can build up any fraction to an equivalent fraction just by multiplying by. As we ve seen, can be any fraction of the form a a. Let s practice building up one fraction to get an equivalent fraction. This means that both the numerator and the denominator become larger are built up but the result is an equivalent fraction. Example : Multiply. Notice that the second fraction, in each case, is equivalent to. 0 b) 6 Exercise Multiply. Notice that the second fraction, in each case, is equivalent to. Use Example as a guide. 6 b) 6 6 Next, we can begin to build up a fraction so that it has a specific denominator. For example, if you want to be built up to a fraction that has a denominator of, you need to find the right fraction of to multiply by. Example : Build up so that it has a denominator of. start multiply to get In this case, should be written as : with by??? So, is equivalent to. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6 6

7 Exercise : Multiply by the appropriate value of to build up each fraction to one with a denominator as shown. Use Example as a guide. start multiply to get start multiply to get with by with by b) d) 6 60 Example : Build up the fraction to have the same denominator as 6. Procedure: We must multiply by so that it becomes an equivalent fraction with a denominator of 6. Use for : 6 Exercise : Build up the first fraction so that it has the same denominator as the second fraction. Build up to have the same b) Build up to have the same denominator as 0 : denominator as : Build up 0 to have the same d) Build up to have the same denominator as 60 : denominator as : Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

8 We can also build up each of two fractions so that they both have the same (new) denominator. Example : Build up the fractions and 6 to have the same denominator of. Answer: We must multiply each fraction by, but the fraction we use for doesn t need to be the same. For, use for : For 6, use for : 6 0 Exercise 6: Build up, individually, the given fractions so that they have the same denominator. Use Example as a guide. Build up both and 6 to have b) Build up both and 6 to have the same denominator of. the same denominator. Build up both and to have d) Build up both and 0 to have the same denominator of 6. the same denominator of 60. e) Build up both 0 and to have f) Build up both 0 and to have the same denominator of 0. the same denominator of 60. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

9 SIMPLIFYING (REDUCING) FRACTIONS It is important to be able to recognize that some fractions look different from one another but actually have the same value they are equivalent fractions. For example, a social worker is asked to conduct a survey among her clients and write a report on her findings. Since her case load is so large, she decides to ask the first clients that come in to see her on Monday morning. From the survey she finds that of her clients have new jobs. In her report, she wants to state that of her clients have new jobs, but her supervisor says she must show it as a reduced fraction. What fraction should she use in her report? Here, again, is Rule : Rule : a b a c b c If we divide the numerator and denominator by a common factor, c, we are able to maintain equivalent fractions. In the situation with the social worker, she had to simplify the fraction necessary to simplify this fraction.. Let s see the steps. First consider the GCF of the numerator and denominator; the 6 GCF of and is.. Divide the numerator and the denominator by the GCF : You may also divide this mentally; In either case, we can say that has been reduced by a factor of to. It is also appropriate to say that and are equivalent fractions; they have the same value. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

10 Example 6: Simplify each of the following fractions by dividing both the numerator and denominator by a common factor. b) 0 Answer: Identify the greatest common factor of both the numerator and the denominator, and divide each by that number. The division shown here could be done mentally. has been reduced by a factor of. b) (by Rule ) 0 has been reduced, by a factor of, to a whole number. Sometimes, in simplifying fractions, the common factor we choose to reduce the fraction doesn t simplify it completely, so we might need to reduce the fraction further. Example : Reduce 60 by a common factor. Answer: There are many common factors of and 60; One such factor is, though it is not the greatest common factor. Let s see what happens is equivalent to 60, but 0 can be simplified further by a factor of. 0 0 In the example above, 0 reduced. When it is finally reduced to is a simpler form (a reduced form) of 60. However, 0 we say that the fraction is completely reduced. can, itself, be A fraction should always be simplified completely, not just part way. If you simplify a fraction by one factor, you should check to see if the new (equivalent) fraction can, itself, be simplified. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6 0

11 Exercise Simplify completely. Decide what factor should be used to reduce the fraction. Show your work as you simplify. For some of these, you may need to reduce the fraction further. (You may use mental division by crossing out and dividing by the GCF.) b) d) 0 e) f) g) 0 h) 66 i) j) k) 0 60 l) Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

12 MULTIPLYING FRACTIONS Here, again, is the rule for the multiplication of fractions. Rule : a b c d a c b d Sometimes, when multiplying fractions, the result is a fraction that can be simplified. Example shows how this can be done. Example : Find the product of the two fractions. Simplify your answer (completely), if possible. b) 6 0 d) 6 Answer: Apply Rule to each of these; then, if the product (the result) can be simplified, please do so. If it cannot simplify, then leave it as it is. 6 This is complete because 6 and are relatively prime and have no common factors. b) This fraction can be simplified by a factor of This fraction can be simplified by a factor of 6. d) Actually, 6 This fraction can be simplified by a factor of. can be reduced by a factor of, a factor of, of 6, of, or of (the GCF). If you use a common factor other than, you ll need to reduce further in order to simplify completely. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

13 Exercise : Find the product of the two fractions. Simplify your answer completely. Use Example as a guide. 6 b) 0 d) 0 CROSS DIVIDING The Extremes and Means of a Product When two fractions are either equivalent to each or are being multiplied we have names for the positions of the numerators and denominators. We have these names only so that we may talk about the positions more easily. In particular, one pair of positions is called the extremes and the other pair of positions is called the means. These definitions are very visual, so here is a diagram. means means 6 extremes 6 or x extremes In Equality In Multiplication When considering the extremes and means, the actual values of the numbers aren t as important as the positions of the numbers. Cross Dividing In the multiplication, and are the extremes and and are the means. The process in reducing the fractions in multiplication before multiplying them together is referred to as cross divideing, because we are able to divide out common factors across the multiplication sign. We can use cross dividing if either the means or the extremes (or both) have a common factor. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

14 Here are some of the same examples seen earlier in this section. This time, though, the common factors will be divided out before multiplying. Example : Find the product of the two fractions by first looking for common factors between the means and extremes. b) 6 0 d) 0 Answer: Be sure to first look for common factors between the numerators and the denominators. There are no common factors between the means or between the extremes, so we just multiply as we have before. Therefore, 6 Notice that this fraction cannot reduce. b) 6 There is a common factor of between the extremes, and, so There is a common factor of between the extremes, and ; there is also a common factor of between the means, 0 and, so 0 6 d) 0 In this case, we cannot cross divide because the neither the means nor the extremes have a common factor. However, each fraction can be reduced individually. 0 6 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

15 Exercise : Find the product of the two fractions. Simplify your answer completely. Use Example as a guide. 6 b) 0 d) 0 What if one of the fractions we re multiplying is really a whole number? Then we need only write whole number the whole number as a fraction:. Example 0: Multiply by first writing the whole number as a fraction (with a denominator of ). b) Answer: We can cross divide reducing the extremes by a factor of. b) 0 We can cross divide reducing the means by a factor of. Exercise 0: Find the product. First, rewrite the whole number as a fraction. Simplify your answer completely. Use Example 0 as a guide. b) d) 6 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

16 DIVIDING FRACTIONS The reciprocal of a fraction, A B, is another fraction, B A, as long as A 0. Furthermore, when finding the reciprocal of a fraction, we say that the fraction has been inverted. When the fraction A B is inverted, it is another fraction, B A, as long as A 0. Basically, the reciprocal of a fraction is the same as the inverse of the fraction. In general, if both numbers are already fractions we get Rule 6: Rule 6: Division of fractions a b d c a b c d a c b d When dividing by a fraction, we use invert and multiply: keep the first fraction the same, write the multiplication sign, and invert (write the reciprocal of) the second fraction. Before we simplify by cross-canceling, the problem must first be changed to multiplication. Example : Divide. Using Rule 6, invert and multiply. Simplify if possible. b) 6 6 Answer: Notice the factors that divide out, either by cross dividing or within the same fraction. They are not highlighted, here. (Invert and multiply) b) 6 6 (The 6 s cannot divide out.) Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6 6

17 Example : Divide. Using Rule 6, invert and multiply. Simplify if possible. 0 b) 6 d) e) f) g) h) Answer: You may use cross dividing if you wish, but it is not shown here. Also, you may NOT cross divide within division! 0 b) d) e) f) 6 g) h) 0 6 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

18 Exercise : Divide. Using Rule 6, invert and multiply. Simplify if possible. Use Example as a guide. 6 b) 0 d) 6 e) f) 6 g) h) i) 6 j) 0 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

19 Example : Simplify this complex fraction by first rewriting it using the division sign ( ). Procedure: 0 Rewrite it as a division problem. Answer: Exercise : Simplify each complex fraction by first rewriting it using the division sign ( ). Use Example as a guide. 6 b) 0 d) e) f) 6 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

20 Answers to each Exercise Section 0.6 Exercise 0 b) undefined 0 d) undefined e) 0 f) undefined Exercise b) 6 0 d) e) 0 f) Exercise b) 0 6 Exercise d) b) Exercise Exercise 6 b) d) 0 b) d) and 6 and and 6 60 and 0 60 e) 0 0 and 0 f) and 60 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6 0

21 Exercise b) d) h) 6 e) f) g) i) j) k) 6 l) Exercise b) 6 d) Exercise b) 6 d) Exercise 0 b) d) Exercise b) 6 d) 0 e) f) i) j) g) h) Exercise e) 6 b) 6 6 d) f) 0 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

22 Section 0.6 Focus Exercises. Multiply by the appropriate value of to build up each fraction to one with a denominator as shown. start multiply to get start multiply to get with by with by e) 0 0 b) d) 0 f) 6. Simplify completely. Show your work as you simplify. b) 0 60 d) 6 e) 60 f) g) h) i). Find the product of the two fractions. Simplify your answer completely. b) 0 d) e) 0 f). Find the quotient of each pair of fractions. Simplify if possible. Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

23 b) d) 0 e) 0 f) 0. Simplify each complex fraction by first rewriting it using the division sign ( ). 0 b) 0 0 d) 0 Robert H. Prior, 00 page 0.6

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