# I Hate Fractions

Fractions are the pits. You know you can’t just add or subtract them even though multiplying and dividing them is not too bad. But since addition is the most popular arithmetic operation, that’s where the darn problem is. I mean those pesky denominators always get in the way. Yet fractions appear everywhere you look: look at the price of gas, which is hovering about \$3.00 per gallon and you see something like “Unleaded Regular – \$2.79 9/10”; or take a look at the unit in supermarkets and you might see something like 33 ½ cents per pound, or 16 1/3 cents per ounce. Let’s face it, you’re not escaping these little monsters so you better just get used to them.

So how do you deal with these nasty little creatures? Well, it really is not that hard to work with fractions. You just need some tools that will help you or your child deal a death blow to the seemingly unending array of problems that fractions can cause.

An important point to make here is that fractions are an integral part of any child’s mathematical education, and, if not learned properly, can severely hinder progress in this subject: all of mathematics either directly or indirectly ties to numbers, and yes, fractions make up a large portion of the real number system which is used extensively in algebra, geometry, and even the Calculus. As pointed out above, children become frustrated with fractions because you can’t add or subtract them like one does with ordinary numbers. With fractions, you need a common denominator before the addition or subtraction operation is negotiated..

Reaching the common ground with fractions–common ground being the common denominator–is not difficult once a little trick is learned. For example, to add 3/10 and 2/15 all you need do is ask, “What is common to 10 and 15?” That is what is the largest number that divides both 10 and 15? The largest number to do this feat is 5, and this is known as the greatest common factor of 10 and 15. Thus multiply 10 and 15 together to get 150, then divide this result by 5 to get 30. This last number is the least common denominator of both 10 and 15. Now to finish off our problem of adding 3/10 and 2/15 we find out how many times each of the denominators goes into the number 30. In this case we have 30/10 is 3 and 30/15 is 2. We multiply each of these quotients 3 and 2 by the respective numerators 3 and 2 to get 3×3 is 9 and 2×2 is 4. We add these last two results, 9 and 4, to get 13. We put this number over the common denominator 30 to get our final answer of 13/30. That’s it folks. Nothing too hard to learn. And this method works all the time.

So get on board with fractions and don’t let their seemingly bullying attitudes get to you or your children. For you can beat these numbers at their game every time and turn that expression of “I hate fractions!” into one of “I love fractions!” Just watch your kids’ grades soar in mathematics once they master fractions.