The Rules of Simplifying Fractions

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Simplifying fractions is easy, so long as you follow a very specific set of rules. Learn the rules of simplifying fractions with help from a mathematics educator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Mathematics Lessons
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Jimmy Chang and we're here to talk about rules of simplifying fractions. Now there's really one fundamental rule that you want to keep in mind. I mean there are others of course but when it comes to simplifying fractions the one thing you've got to remember is whatever you do to one side you've got to do to the other side. In other words what you do to the numerator you've got to do to the denominator as well and vice versa. So lets run over some examples and you'll see where we're coming from. Now one fraction for example that we can look at is 12/15. Now as you might imagine, it's pretty easy to reduce this fraction. But what you've got to think about , what is the largest number that will go into 12 and 15. And after some thought you might come to the conclusion of it might be 3. So what you want to do is you want to divide the numerator by 3, but again, you've got to do it to both the top and the bottom, so divide the denominator by 3 as well and so 12/15 is going to equal to 4/5. Now here's another illustration for you. Suppose you have lets just say 24/36. Now, one easy way to do this would be, okay, again, think of a number that will go into both 24 and 36. They're kind of medium sized numbers but if you divide both sides by 2 for example, you'll have 12/18. As you can tell this is probably divisible even further. But the fact of the matter is even if you continue to divide by 2, it might give you smaller numbers to work with so that you can reduce them a little bit easier. But if you want to think a little bit bigger, you might want to think about, okay, what number is going to go into 12 and 18 and one number that might come to mind is the number 6. So divide both the top and the bottom. And that's the really important part. You've got to take care of both sides. 12 divided by 6 is going to be 2. And 18 divided by 6 is going to be 3. This is an example of multiple reductions. Sometimes you can reduce by really large numbers but if for whatever reason that doesn't come to mind right away you can always take the reduction into little steps. Like with this particular problem. Whereas some fractions you can reduce a little bit easier. It all depends on what kind of numbers that you have at the very, very end. So I'm Jimmy Change and there are some rules on simplifying fractions.

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