Multiplying Fractions Is As Easy As One, Two…

To most students, multiplying fractions is the easiest of the four basic operations. Why? You do not have to worry about a common denominator.

Here’s the Rule for Multiplying Fractions...

    1. Multiply numerators.
    2. Multiply denominators.
    3. Simplify or reduce the results, if needed.

We can illustrate the multiplication problem below by picturing each fraction as part of a whole or unit. With that idea in mind, we can show the fractions 4/5 and 2/3 as…

4/5 X 2/3 = (4 X 2)/(5 X 3) = 8/15

Like in our example above, we wanted to find 2/3 of 4/5. The “of” in this expression indicates that we are taking a part of something. That’s what multiplying fractions is really all about.

When we combine the two diagrams as shown below, the part of the whole that represents multiplying 2/3 x 4/5 is shown in the double-shaded area.

2/3 x 4/5 = 8/15

Notice how the rule is “suggested” by the diagram.

By the way…

    • Did you also notice that the double shaded area is less than both fractions, 2/3 and 4/5? That’s because multiplying proper fractions always produces a smaller fraction.
    • When we multiply a fraction by a fraction, aren’t we actually taking a “part” of a “part“?
    • As always, don’t forget to reduce or simplify your answer, as needed.
    • Present your solution in the form asked for in your instructions.

 

Want to practice multiplying fractions?

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Homework Helpers

Check out these great additional resources for multiplying fractions: Reducing Fractions and Simplifying Fractions

Related Topics

If you’ve mastered multiplying fractions, why not try your hand at one of the following: Dividing Fractions, Adding Fractions or Subtracting Fractions

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