By Tina J. Thomas on May 15 2018 15:58:53

Once students have a basic familiarity with fractions, the next step is to understand how to compare fractions. Sometimes the concept of denominators takes a little time to grasp. Often students will confuse a larger denominator with a larger value for the fraction, when in reality the numerator, not the denominator, expressed the actual value being represented. The size of the numerator relative to the denominator is what ultimately describes the actual value of the fraction.

When you see a fraction, you see a numerator and a denominator. To find the common factor, see whichever number among these is least: The numerator, the denominator or the difference between numerator and denominator.

Start by following the basic process for fraction multiplication, turning any mixed fractions into improper ones. Before you cross cancel or multiply, however, swap the numerator and the denominator in the second fraction. This is called taking the reciprocal and it is the key step to turn this into a division operation. Then, cross cancel, multiply across to get the answer fraction, and reduce.

Here’s hoping that now simplifying fractions for you would be easy and not so ‘trick-y’. Happy Fractions!

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