How Do You Divide Fractions - Step By Step Guide

How Do You Divide Fractions – Step By Step Guide

By: - Education - October 13, 2011
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It can be the bane of many students existence, including yours, when you are asked to divide fractions in your match class. When you ask “how do you divide fractions”, you are probably asking for a step by step guide on dividing them. This is a really easy process and you are probably making it way too hard! When you are ready to learn about dividing fractions by fractions, grab a pencil and get ready to be impressed with your math skills.

Imagine your teacher hands out a worksheet and you see “1/2 ÷ 1/6”. You probably just thought “How do you divide fractions?” Remember, there is a very easy step by step process when dividing fractions by fractions.   So here we have the fraction “1/2 ÷ 1/6”. The first step is to turn the second fraction upside down. If you do that to our example problem,” 1/2 ÷ 1/6”, you will turn the 1/6 upside down to get 6/1. Now, if you are writing all of this down, you should see “1/2 ÷ 6/1”. When you turn a fraction upside down, this is called the “reciprocal”. 6/1 is a reciprocal of 1/6. Another example would be 5/8 is a reciprocal of 8/5 and so on.

The second step of dividing fractions by fractions is to multiply the first fraction by the second. Multiply? Yes.  Here is the cool think about dividing fractions…you never actually divide during the process. When you ask “How do you divide fractions?” you are actually asking how to flip and multiply fractions. Getting back to our problem, we have taken “1/2 ÷ 1/6” and turned it into “1/2 ÷ 6/1”. As you know, however, you are actually multiplying so it will actually be “1/2 * 6/1”. When multiplying fractions, you multiply the top two numbers together and the bottom two numbers together.  In this case, it will be “1/2 * 6/1 = 6/2”. The number 1 multiplied by 6 is 6 and 2 multiplied by 1 is 2. Now you have the fraction 6/2 and you may think you are done…but not quite.

The final step in dividing fractions is to simplify your answer. You may not be able to simplify an answer, but if you can, you certainly should. In the case of our answer, we can simplify 6/2 to 3/1, which is simply the number 3. The answer to “1/2 ÷ 1/6” is 3. Congratulations, you can now divide fractions.

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