Fractions are an essential pre-algebra skill. You’ll need to understand fractions to move on to most forms of math at a high school level and beyond.
Plus, fractions have tons of uses in everyday life. They can help you while cooking, figuring out personal finances, and much more.
These numbers have been around since 1800 BC, but they’ve changed a lot since their first introduction in ancient Egypt. We’ve put together a quick guide to how to do fractions the easiest way.
The first operation you should learn is addition. Once you can add fractions, subtracting fractions will be much easier to master.
Fractions are split into two parts: the numerator (top number) and the denominator (bottom number).
When you’re adding two fractions, you must first make sure their denominators are the same. Let’s say, for example, you need to add 3/4 to 1/2.
In order to make sure their denominators match, just divide the larger one by the smaller one. You’re going to make both fractions have a denominator of 4.
In this case, you’re dividing 4 by 2. Your answer is, of course, 2. That means you can change the fraction 1/2 to 2/4.
Then, all you have to do is add your numerators together. Your answer will be 5/4, or 1 and 1/4.
Subtracting fractions is almost exactly like adding fractions. You still need to make sure your denominators match before you get to your subtraction.
Of course, the difference is that you’re subtracting the numerator from the other instead of adding them together.
Let’s say you need to solve 3/4 – 1/2. First, rewrite your problem as 3/4 – 2/4. Your answer should be 1/4.
Once you’ve mastered adding and subtracting fractions, you can move on to multiplication. Multiplying fractions may seem more complicated, but it actually requires less steps than addition or subtraction.
When you’re multiplying fractions, all you need to do is multiply the numerators together, and then the denominators together.
Let’s say you have to multiply 3/4 x 1/2. You’ll do 3 x 1, followed by 4 x 2. Your result should be 3/8.
It’s that simple! Remember that multiplying anything by a fraction that is less than 1 will result in a smaller number.
If you’re multiplying fractions that contain large numbers, you can always check your work with a fraction calculator.
Dividing fractions is quite similar to multiplying them, but with one extra twist. Let’s look at an example.
Take the problem 3/4 ÷ 1/2. In order to solve this problem, you need to flip the second fraction upside down. Now you’re looking at 3/4 ÷ 2/1.
Next, simply multiply those two fractions together. Your answer should be 6/4, which can be reduced to 1 and 1/2.
You can check your work with a fraction calculator here, or you can just think about it logically. 1/2 goes into 3/4 1 and 1/2 times, so your answer must be correct.
Never Struggle With Fractions Again
Once you master these basic operations with fractions, a whole new world of mathematics will be open to you. Fractions are vital to geometry, algebra, and higher forms of mathematics, like calculus.
These operations might seem complex at first, but with enough practice you’re sure to get the hang of them.
For more quick educational guides, check out our other blog posts!