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Arithmetic Review: Equivalent Fractions

Module by: Wade Ellis, Denny Burzynski. E-mail the authors

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Overview

  • Equivalent Fractions
  • Reducing Fractions To Lowest Terms
  • Raising Fractions To Higher Terms

Equivalent Fractions

Equivalent Fractions

Fractions that have the same value are called equivalent fractions.

For example, 2 3 2 3 and 4 6 4 6 represent the same part of a whole quantity and are therefore equivalent. Several more collections of equivalent fractions are listed below.

Example 1

15 25 , 12 20 , 3 5 15 25 , 12 20 , 3 5

Example 2

1 3 , 2 6 , 3 9 , 4 12 1 3 , 2 6 , 3 9 , 4 12

Example 3

7 6 , 14 12 , 21 18 , 28 24 , 35 30 7 6 , 14 12 , 21 18 , 28 24 , 35 30

Reducing Fractions To Lowest Terms

Reduced to Lowest Terms

It is often useful to convert one fraction to an equivalent fraction that has reduced values in the numerator and denominator. When a fraction is converted to an equivalent fraction that has the smallest numerator and denominator in the collection of equivalent fractions, it is said to be reduced to lowest terms. The conversion process is called reducing a fraction.

We can reduce a fraction to lowest terms by

  1. Expressing the numerator and denominator as a product of prime numbers. (Find the prime factorization of the numerator and denominator. See Section R.2 for this technique.)
  2. Divide the numerator and denominator by all common factors. (This technique is commonly called “cancelling.”)

Sample Set A

Reduce each fraction to lowest terms.

Example 4

6 18 = 2·3 2·3·3 = 2 · 3 2 · 3 ·3 2 and 3 are common factors. = 1 3 6 18 = 2·3 2·3·3 = 2 · 3 2 · 3 ·3 2 and 3 are common factors. = 1 3

Example 5

16 20 = 2·2·2·2 2·2·5 = 2 · 2 ·2·2 2 · 2 ·5 2 is the only common factor. = 4 5 16 20 = 2·2·2·2 2·2·5 = 2 · 2 ·2·2 2 · 2 ·5 2 is the only common factor. = 4 5

Example 6

56 70 = 2·4·7 2·5·7 = 2 ·4· 7 2 ·5· 7 2 and 7 are common factors. = 4 5 56 70 = 2·4·7 2·5·7 = 2 ·4· 7 2 ·5· 7 2 and 7 are common factors. = 4 5

Example 7

8 15 = 2·2·2 3·5 There are no common factors. Thus, 8 15  is reduced to lowest terms. 8 15 = 2·2·2 3·5 There are no common factors. Thus, 8 15  is reduced to lowest terms.

Raising a Fraction to Higher Terms

Equally important as reducing fractions is raising fractions to higher terms. Raising a fraction to higher terms is the process of constructing an equivalent fraction that has higher values in the numerator and denominator. The higher, equivalent fraction is constructed by multiplying the original fraction by 1.

Notice that 3 5 3 5 and 9 15 9 15 are equivalent, that is 3 5 = 9 15 . 3 5 = 9 15 . Also,

The product of three over five and one is equal to the product of three over five and three over three. This is equal to the product of three and three over the product of five and three, that in turn is equal to nine over fifteen. There is an arrow pointing towards one and three over three, indicating that one and three over three are equal.

This observation helps us suggest the following method for raising a fraction to higher terms.

Raising a Fraction to Higher Terms

A fraction can be raised to higher terms by multiplying both the numerator and denominator by the same nonzero number.

For example, 3 4 3 4 can be raised to 24 32 24 32 by multiplying both the numerator and denominator by 8, that is, multiplying by 1 in the form 8 8 . 8 8 .

3 4 = 3·8 4·8 = 24 32 3 4 = 3·8 4·8 = 24 32

How did we know to choose 8 as the proper factor? Since we wish to convert 4 to 32 by multiplying it by some number, we know that 4 must be a factor of 32. This means that 4 divides into 32. In fact, 32÷4=8. 32÷4=8. We divided the original denominator into the new, specified denominator to obtain the proper factor for the multiplication.

Sample Set B

Determine the missing numerator or denominator.

Example 8

3 7 = ? 35 . Divide the original denominator, 7, into the new denominator, 35.35÷7=5. Multiply the original numerator by 5. 3 7 = 3·5 7·5 = 15 35 3 7 = ? 35 . Divide the original denominator, 7, into the new denominator, 35.35÷7=5. Multiply the original numerator by 5. 3 7 = 3·5 7·5 = 15 35

Example 9

5 6 = 45 ? . Divide the original numerator, 5, into the new numerator, 45.45÷5=9. Multiply the original denominator by 9. 5 6 = 5·9 6·9 = 45 54 5 6 = 45 ? . Divide the original numerator, 5, into the new numerator, 45.45÷5=9. Multiply the original denominator by 9. 5 6 = 5·9 6·9 = 45 54

Exercises

For the following problems, reduce, if possible, each fraction lowest terms.

Exercise 1

6 8 6 8

Solution

3 4 3 4

Exercise 2

5 10 5 10

Exercise 3

6 14 6 14

Solution

3 7 3 7

Exercise 4

4 14 4 14

Exercise 5

18 12 18 12

Solution

3 2 3 2

Exercise 6

20 8 20 8

Exercise 7

10 6 10 6

Solution

5 3 5 3

Exercise 8

14 4 14 4

Exercise 9

10 12 10 12

Solution

5 6 5 6

Exercise 10

32 28 32 28

Exercise 11

36 10 36 10

Solution

18 5 18 5

Exercise 12

26 60 26 60

Exercise 13

12 18 12 18

Solution

2 3 2 3

Exercise 14

18 27 18 27

Exercise 15

18 24 18 24

Solution

3 4 3 4

Exercise 16

32 40 32 40

Exercise 17

11 22 11 22

Solution

1 2 1 2

Exercise 18

17 51 17 51

Exercise 19

27 81 27 81

Solution

1 3 1 3

Exercise 20

16 42 16 42

Exercise 21

Exercise 22

44 11 44 11

Exercise 23

121 132 121 132

Solution

11 12 11 12

Exercise 24

30 105 30 105

Exercise 25

108 76 108 76

Solution

27 19 27 19

For the following problems, determine the missing numerator or denominator.

Exercise 26

1 3 = ? 12 1 3 = ? 12

Exercise 27

1 5 = ? 30 1 5 = ? 30

Solution

6

Exercise 28

3 3 = ? 9 3 3 = ? 9

Exercise 29

3 4 = ? 16 3 4 = ? 16

Solution

12

Exercise 30

5 6 = ? 18 5 6 = ? 18

Exercise 31

4 5 = ? 25 4 5 = ? 25

Solution

20

Exercise 32

1 2 = 4 ? 1 2 = 4 ?

Exercise 33

9 25 = 27 ? 9 25 = 27 ?

Solution

75

Exercise 34

3 2 = 18 ? 3 2 = 18 ?

Exercise 35

5 3 = 80 ? 5 3 = 80 ?

Solution

48

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