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The Ladder

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The Ladder Method...


is a method of factoring which allows
you to factor two numbers at once in
order to
find the LCM of the two numbers
find the GCF of the two numbers
simplify a fraction with these numbers
as numerator and denominator

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Use the ladder to factor


6 and 8
You will divide out any common factors
of the two numbers

What number goes


Now any
divide
both 1
Does
#
besides
into both 6 and 8?
6 and
8both
by
the
2 done.
No?
Then
you
go
into
3are
and
4?
Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Lets find the Least Common


Multiple (LCM) of 6 and 8
The LCM is the product of all the
numbers on the left and the bottom.
The LCM
of
6 and 8
is 24.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Which numbers in the ladder


give you the LCM?
The L shape
gives you the
LCM: multiply
the numbers on
the left and
bottom.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

What about the Greatest Common


Factor (GCF) of 6 and 8?
The GCF is the product of all the
numbers on the left.
The GCF
of
6 and 8
is 2.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Which numbers in the ladder


give you the GCF?
Multiply the
numbers on the
left only for
the GCF.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

How can we use the Ladder


6
Method to simplify 8 ?
The simplified numerator and
denominator are on the bottom.

6
8

simplifies
to

3
4

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Which numbers in the ladder


give you the simplified
fraction?
The numbers on
the bottom of
the ladder are
your simplified
numerator and
denominator.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Lets try some bigger numbers.


Divide out all the common factors down
the left side.
What number
goes
intoany
both
Does
#
24 besides
and 60?1

go
intoabout
both
How
12
and 15?
30?
6 and
Anything else?
No?
Youre done.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Find the LCM.


The LCM
of
24 and 60
is 120.

x
x
x

= 120

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Find the GCF.


The GCF
of
24 and 60
is 12.

12=

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

24
Simplify
.
60
24
60
simplifies to

2
5.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

Practice. Find the LCM and GCF


28
for 28 and 42. Simplify
.
42
LCM = 2 7 2 3 = 84
GCF = 2 7 = 14
Simplified
=
fraction
Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003

2
3

Extension Questions
1. Do you have to factor out
prime numbers?
2. Can you factor three
numbers at once and still get
the right GCF and LCM? Try
factoring small numbers to
find out - like 4, 6, and 8.

Becky Afghani, LBUSD Math Curriculum Office, 2003