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How to Multiply Fractions
The numerator of a fraction tells us the number of parts of the whole that we have. It is written above the line in a fraction. The denominator of a fraction tells us the total number of equal parts that something has been divided into. It is written below the line in a fraction.
Multiplying fractions is actually the simplest operation out of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to solve. When we multiply fractions, we multiply the numerators together to find the new numerator and multiply the denominators together to get the new denominator. That's it!
Have a look at this example:
Step 1: Multiply the numerators
Step 2: Multiply the denominators
Step 3: Simplify (if needed)
The same goes for multiplying any improper fractions. If your answer is an improper fraction, you may need to convert it to a mixed number:
If you need to multiply a fraction by a whole number, write the whole number as a fraction with 1 as the denominator then solve and simplify:
But what are we actually figuring out? Well, when we multiply fractions, what we’re doing is finding a fraction of another fraction:
In the equation 3/4 x 1/2, what we're trying to calculate is What is three-quarters of one half? Check out this visual representation:
Start by thinking about what a half is. One of two equal parts of a whole. Cool. Now we've got to find three-quarters of that so break that half into quarters. We want three of those.
Now, let's go back to looking at the whole. If we broke the whole in half and each half into quarters, how many equal parts would we have?
8! Which means that we have three out of eight parts ie 3/8.
So 3/4 x 1/2 = 3/8.
Hopefully you found this helpful! If you're after more fractions guides, check these out: