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Additon

Adding Fractions with COMMON Denominators


Adding fractions with COMMON denominators is simple. Just add the top numbers (the numerators)
together, and place the resulting answer in the top of a fraction using the existing denominator for the
bottom number. Then reduce the fraction, if possible
Example 1: Simple fraction addition

+ =

No reduction is possible, so we have found the answer!


Example 2: Reducing the fraction answer

+ =

Then reduce:

Example 3: Converting the answer to a mixed number

+ =

Then convert the improper fraction to a mixed number:

Creating Common Denominators


How do we do that? Simple! Remember, if you multiply the top and bottom of a fraction by the
same number, it doesn't affect the value of the fraction.

Example 1: If we have the fraction 2/3, we can multiply the top and bottom by 2, and not change
its value: (2/2) x (2/3) = 4/6 Then if we reduce 4/6, we still get the original number, 2/3
Example 2: If we have the fraction 2/3, we could multiply top and bottom by 5, and not change
its value: (5/5) x (2/3) = 10/15. Then if we reduce 10/15, we still get the original number, 2/3.
Why does this work? Because any number divided by itself equals one. 2/2 = 1, 5/5 = 1, etc.
And any number multiplied by 1 equals itself! The point is, you don't change the value of a
fraction if you multiply its top and bottom numbers by the same number!
Adding Fractions with DIFFERENT denominators
You can only add together fractions which have the same denominator, so you must first change
one or both of the fractions so that you end up with two fractions having a common denominator.
The easiest way to do this, is to simply select the opposite fraction's denominator to use as a top
and bottom multiplier.
Example 1: Say you have the fractions 2/3 and 1/4
Select the denominator of the second fraction (4) and multiply the top and bottom of the first
fraction (2/3) by that number:

x =

Select the denominator of the first fraction (3) and multiply the top and bottom of the second
fraction (1/4) by that number:

x =

These two fractions (8/12 and 3/12) have common denominators - the number 12 on the bottom
of the fraction.
Add these two new fractions together:

+ =

Example 2: Say you have the fractions 3/5 and 2/7


Select the denominator of the second fraction (7) and multiply the top and bottom of the first
fraction (3/5) by that number

x =

Select the denominator of the first fraction (5) and multiply the top and bottom of the second
fraction (2/7) by that number

x =

These two fractions (21/35 and 10/35) have common denominators -- the number 35 on the
bottom of the fraction.
We can now add these two fractions together, because they have common denominators:
+ =

Subtracting Fractions with COMMON Denominators


Subtracting fractions with COMMON denominators is simple. Just subtract the top numbers (the
numerators), and place the resulting answer in the top of a fraction using the existing denominator for the
bottom number. Then reduce the fraction, if possible
Example 1: Simple fraction subtraction

=
-

No reduction is possible, so we have found the answer!


Example 2: Reducing the fraction answer

=
-

Then reduce:

Example 3: Subtraction with a mixed number

=
- ?

First convert the mixed number to an improper fraction:

Then subtract:
=
-

Then reduce the fraction:

Creating Common Denominators


How do we do that? Simple! Remember, if you multiply the top and bottom of a fraction by the
same number, it doesn't affect the value of the fraction.
Example 1: If we have the fraction 2/3, we can multiply the top and bottom by 2, and not change
its value: (2/2) x (2/3) = 4/6 Then if we reduce 4/6, we still get the original number, 2/3
Example 2: If we have the fraction 2/3, we could multiply top and bottom by 5, and not change
its value: (5/5) x (2/3) = 10/15. Then if we reduce 10/15, we still get the original number, 2/3.
Why does this work? Because any number divided by itself equals one. 2/2 = 1, 5/5 = 1, etc.
And any number multiplied by 1 equals itself! The point is, you don't change the value of a
fraction if you multiply its top and bottom numbers by the same number!
Subtracting Fractions with DIFFERENT denominators
You can only subtract fractions which have the same denominator, so you must first change one
or both of the fractions to end up with two fractions having a common denominator. The easiest
way to do this, is to simply select the opposite fraction's denominator to use as a top and bottom
multiplier.
Example 1: Say you have the fractions 2/3 and 1/4
Select the denominator of the second fraction (4) and multiply the top and bottom of the first
fraction (2/3) by that number:

x =

Select the denominator of the first fraction (3) and multiply the top and bottom of the second
fraction (1/4) by that number:

x =

These two fractions (8/12 and 3/12) have common denominators - the number 12 on the bottom
of the fraction.
Subtract, using these two new fractions:

=
-

Example 2: Say you have the fractions 3/5 and 2/7


Select the denominator of the second fraction (7) and multiply the top and bottom of the first
fraction (3/5) by that number
x =

Select the denominator of the first fraction (5) and multiply the top and bottom of the second
fraction (2/7) by that number

x =

These two fractions (21/35 and 10/35) have common denominators -- the number 35 on the
bottom of the fraction.
We can now subtract, because the two new fractions have a common denominator:

=
-

Multiplication
Method 1 - (for beginners) Just multiply the numerators (top numbers), and the denomominators (bottom
numbers), and place the resulting answers in their respective top / bottom location in the answer fraction.
Then reduce the fraction, if possible Example 1:
Simple fraction multiplication

x =

No reduction is possible, so we have found the answer! Example


2: Multiplication requiring answer fraction to be reduced

x =

Then reduce:
=

Example 3: Multiplication with a mixed number

x =
?

First convert the mixed number to an improper fraction:

Then multiply:

x =

Then reduce the fraction:

Method 2 - (for anyone who understands the above concept). Before multiplying
the numerators and denominators, look for ways to pre-reduce the fractions, both
within each fraction, and across the fractions.
Example 1: Pre-reducing within a fraction

x =
?

First reduce the 2/4 to 1/2, then multiply the numerators (top numbers), and the denominators
(bottom numbers), and place the resulting answers in their respective top / bottom location in the
answer fraction. Then reduce the fraction, if possible.

x = x =

Example 2: Reducing across fractions

x =
?

Here we divide the first numerator (5) by the second denominator (5), before multiplying the
numerators (top numbers), and the denomominators (bottom numbers).

x = x =
This method has the advantage of allowing the use of smaller numbers in the calculation process.

Division
Example 1: Simple fraction division

÷ =?

Invert the 1/2, creating 2/1, then multiply numerators and denominators to find the answer:

x = =

Example 2: Fraction division requiring reducing and conversion:

÷ =?

Invert the 2/5, then multiply:

x =

Then reduce the fraction: Example : 6/18 ÷ 6/6 = 1/3

Then convert the improper fraction to a mixed number (a proper fraction)

An improper fraction has a numerator that is greater than or equal to its denominator.

To convert from an improper fraction to a (proper fraction) mixed number, simply:


a. Divide the numerator by the denominator.
b. Write down the whole number.
c. Place any remainder in the quotient over the denominator.
Example :
Convert 23/7 to a mixed number.
a. 23 ÷ 7 = 3 with a remainder of 2
b. 3 is the whole number
c. 2/7 is the remainder
The final answer is 3 2/7.