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FRACTIONSOPERATIONS

Summary
1.

Elementsofafraction.............................................................................................................1

2.

Equivalentfractions.................................................................................................................1

3.

Simplificationofafraction......................................................................................................2

4.

Rulesforaddingandsubtractingfractions.............................................................................3

5.

Multiplicationrulefortwofractions.......................................................................................5

6.

Divisionruleoftwofractions..................................................................................................6

7.

ExercisesOperationswithnumbers......................................................................................7

1. Elements of a fraction
Thefraction iscomposedofanumerator

andadenominator

2. Equivalent fractions
Itisimportanttorememberthattherearemanywaystorepresentthesamefraction.
Forexample,thefractions and areequivalent.Buthowdowegofromonefraction
toanotherandconservetheequivalencerelation?

Afractionremainsequivalentifthenumeratorandthedenominatoraremultipliedor
dividedbythesamenumber.

Example
2
3
24
30

2
3

5
5
24
30

10

15
6
6

3. Simplification of a fraction
Afractioniswritteninitssimplifiedformifthenumeratorandthedenominatorhaveno
commonfactor.Inotherwords,itisimpossibletofindanumberthatisadivisortoboth
thenumeratorandthedenominatorinafractionssimplifiedform.

Example
Thefraction isnotwritteninitssimplifiedformsincetherearenumbersthatdivide
both120and200.Thelargestcommondivisor(factor)of120and200is40,where
120
200

120
200

40
40

Since we divided the numerator and the denominator by the same number (40), the
fraction isequivalentto .Inaddition, isthesimplifiedformof sincenoother
commonfactorexistsfor3and5.
A simplification can be done in many steps if we do not recognize atonce the largest
commonfactorforthenumeratorandthedenominator.
Example
108
144

108
144

2
2

54
72

54
72

9
9

6
8

6
8

2
2

"Countdown" enthusiasts will have noticed that 108 and 144 have 36 as a common
factor:
108
144

108
144

36
36

Intheend,nomatterhowmanystepstaken,thesamesimplifiedformwillbefound...

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4. Rules for adding and subtracting fractions

The symbol , which is read "plus or minus", indicates that this rule applies both to
sumsandsubtractions.
Example
7
8

3
8
7
6

5
6

7
8

10
8
2
6

4
1

Notethattheaddingandsubtractingruleforfractionsisapplicableonlyifbothfractions
havethesamedenominator.However,thiswillgenerallynotbethecase.Wewillneed
torewritethefractionsintoequivalentfractionswithacommondenominator.
Example
Evaluatethefollowingsum

These fractions cannot be added together before rewriting them with a common
denominator.Thesmallestcommonmultipleof3and5is15.15willthereforebethe
commondenominator.
2
5

1
3

2
5

3
3

1
3

5
5

6
15

5
15

5
15

11

15

Example
Evaluatethefollowingsubtraction

The common denominator (the smallest common multiple) of 8 and 24 is 24. The
fraction does not require rewriting. However, must be written so that 24 is its
denominator.
3
8

17
24

3
8

3
3

17
24

9
24

17
24

8
24

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Note: When possible, it may be useful to simplify fractions before proceeding with
addition or subtraction. Such a simplification will facilitate finding a common
denominator.
Example
Evaluatethefollowingsum
9
12

7
14

9 3
12 3

7 7
14 7

3
4

1
2

3
4

2
4

Inthepreviousexample,thecommondenominatorof12and24wouldhavebeen84.
Byfirstsimplifyingeachfraction,thecalculationsweregreatlyreduced.

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5. Multiplication rule for two fractions

It is important to note that contrary to sums, the multiplication rule does not impose
constraintstothedenominatorvalues.Thismeanstheydonotneedtobecommon.
Example
4
7

3
11

4 3
7 11

3
2

5
4

3 5
2 4

12

77
15

Note:Itmaybeusefultosimplifyfractionsbeforemultiplying.Inadditiontosimplifying
each fraction individually, simplifying the denominator of one fraction with the
numeratoroftheotherfractionispermitted,providedthatbothhavecommonfactors.
Example
Evaluatethefollowingproduct

Youwillnotethatthetwofractions, and arealreadysimplified.Nonetheless,the


denominator16andthenumerator8have8asacommonfactor.Thedenominator81
and the numerator 27 have 27 as common factor. It is therefore possible to simplify
beforemultiplying
27
16

8
81

27 27
16 8

8
81

8
27

1
2

1
3

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6. Division rule of two fractions

Theruleallowsustotransformadivisionintoamultiplication.
Example
3
8

2
7

2
7

8
3

16

21

Payattentiontothefollowingnotationthatdescribesthesamedivision:
2
3

7
8

2
7

8
3

16

21

Afewfinalremarks

Workingwithfractionsdoesnotmodifythepriorityofoperations.

Example

2
3

4
5

2
3

8
15

5
3

8
1

8
15

18
15

5
3

24
3

5
3

19

Avoidworkingwithmixednumbers...transformthemintosimplefractions.

Example
4

10
15

Awholenumbercanalwaysbewrittenasafractionifanoperationistobedone
betweenthenumberandafraction.

Example

2
3

2
7

28
7

2
7

30

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7. Exercises Operations with numbers


Calculatethefollowingwhilerespectingthepriorities:
a) 8

b) 4

c) 8

d)

2
4

5
6

2
2

3
1

e)
f)

g)

h)

i)

j)

Solutions
a) 22
b) 15
c)

12

d)

e)

f) 37/40
g)

29/21

h) 17/20
i) 1/20
j) 15/32

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