Difference between revisions of "Fraction"

(Expanded section to include conversion, simplification, comparison, and the four operations (as well as Alcumus units))
 
Line 1: Line 1:
A '''fraction''' is the [[ratio]] of two [[number]]s.  Most commonly, we consider [[rational number]]s, those fractions which are the ratio of two [[integer]]s or [[decimal]]s.  For instance, <math>\frac 34</math> is such a fraction. A fraction where the [[numerator]] is greater than the denominator is called an [[improper fraction]]. A fraction where the numerator is the same as the denominator such as <math>\frac{3}{3}</math> is always equal to <math>1</math>.
+
A '''fraction''' is the [[ratio]] of two [[number]]s.  Most commonly, we consider [[rational number]]s, those fractions which are the ratio of two [[integer]]s or [[decimal]]s.
 +
 
 +
An example of a fraction is <math>\frac34</math>In the example, the [[numerator]] is <math>3</math> and represents the number of individual parts of a given fraction, and the [[denominator]] is <math>4</math> and represents the individual parts needed for the fraction to be one whole. A fraction where the numerator is greater than the denominator is called an [[improper fraction]]. A fraction where the numerator is the same as the denominator such as <math>\frac{3}{3}</math> is always equal to <math>1</math>.
 +
 
 +
==Converting Fractions==
 +
 
 +
We convert fractions to fractions of a different denominator by multiplying or dividing the numerator and denominator by the same quantity (since we're essentially multiplying by 1).
 +
 
 +
When, after converting fractions, the numerator and denominator have a [[GCD]] equal to <math>1</math>, the fraction is in simplest form, or in lowest terms.  Converting a fraction to a fraction of simplest form is known as ''simplifying'' a fraction.
 +
 
 +
==Comparing Fractions==
 +
 
 +
There are various methods to compare fractions.
 +
 
 +
One method is to compare fractions by common denominator.  When two fractions have the same denominator, the one with the higher numerator is greater (because there are more of said quantity).
 +
 
 +
Another method is to compare fractions by common numerator.  When two fractions have the same numerator, the one with the lower denominator is greater (because the "pieces" are bigger).
 +
 
 +
Cross-multiplication is also used to compare fractions.  During cross-multiplication, we are essentially multiplying both sides by both the denominators.
 +
 
 +
==Operations with Fractions==
 +
 
 +
===Addition and Subtraction===
 +
 
 +
Before adding and subtracting fractions, if the denominators are different, then the fractions should be converted have the same denominator.  This is because only quantities with the same units can be combined (we can't add 1 banana and 1 orange, but we can add 1 fruit and 1 fruit).
 +
 
 +
When the denominators are the same, we can add or subtract the numerators (since the numerators represent the number of "pieces").
 +
 
 +
===Multiplication===
 +
 
 +
When multiplying fractions, the resulting numerator is the product of the numerators multiplied, and the resulting denominator is the product of the denominators multiplied.  Sometimes, during multiplication, we can cross-cancel to simplify fractions midway through.
 +
 
 +
===Division===
 +
 
 +
By definition, dividing a number means multiplying by its reciprocal.  So after finding the reciprocal of the divisor, we can proceed with multiplication.
 +
 
 +
==Problems==
 +
 
 +
* Practice Problems on [https://artofproblemsolving.com/alcumus Alcumus]
 +
** Fraction Multiplication (Prealgebra)
 +
** Fraction Division (Prealgebra)
 +
** Fraction Addition and Subtraction (Prealgebra)
 +
** Simplifying Fractions (Prealgebra)
 +
* [[2006 AMC 8 Problems/Problem 9]]
 +
* [[1992 AIME Problems/Problem 1]]
  
{{stub}}
 
 
[[Category:Definition]]
 
[[Category:Definition]]

Latest revision as of 18:34, 11 June 2020

A fraction is the ratio of two numbers. Most commonly, we consider rational numbers, those fractions which are the ratio of two integers or decimals.

An example of a fraction is $\frac34$. In the example, the numerator is $3$ and represents the number of individual parts of a given fraction, and the denominator is $4$ and represents the individual parts needed for the fraction to be one whole. A fraction where the numerator is greater than the denominator is called an improper fraction. A fraction where the numerator is the same as the denominator such as $\frac{3}{3}$ is always equal to $1$.

Converting Fractions

We convert fractions to fractions of a different denominator by multiplying or dividing the numerator and denominator by the same quantity (since we're essentially multiplying by 1).

When, after converting fractions, the numerator and denominator have a GCD equal to $1$, the fraction is in simplest form, or in lowest terms. Converting a fraction to a fraction of simplest form is known as simplifying a fraction.

Comparing Fractions

There are various methods to compare fractions.

One method is to compare fractions by common denominator. When two fractions have the same denominator, the one with the higher numerator is greater (because there are more of said quantity).

Another method is to compare fractions by common numerator. When two fractions have the same numerator, the one with the lower denominator is greater (because the "pieces" are bigger).

Cross-multiplication is also used to compare fractions. During cross-multiplication, we are essentially multiplying both sides by both the denominators.

Operations with Fractions

Addition and Subtraction

Before adding and subtracting fractions, if the denominators are different, then the fractions should be converted have the same denominator. This is because only quantities with the same units can be combined (we can't add 1 banana and 1 orange, but we can add 1 fruit and 1 fruit).

When the denominators are the same, we can add or subtract the numerators (since the numerators represent the number of "pieces").

Multiplication

When multiplying fractions, the resulting numerator is the product of the numerators multiplied, and the resulting denominator is the product of the denominators multiplied. Sometimes, during multiplication, we can cross-cancel to simplify fractions midway through.

Division

By definition, dividing a number means multiplying by its reciprocal. So after finding the reciprocal of the divisor, we can proceed with multiplication.

Problems

Invalid username
Login to AoPS