Chapter 3: Fractions and Decimals
[First Half: Foundations of Fractions and Decimals]
3.1 Understanding Fractions
Fractions are a way of representing a part of a whole. They are written as two numbers, the numerator and the denominator, separated by a horizontal line. The numerator represents the number of parts being considered, while the denominator represents the total number of equal parts that make up the whole.
For example, the fraction 3/4 represents 3 out of 4 equal parts of a whole. The numerator, 3, tells us that we are considering 3 parts, and the denominator, 4, tells us that the whole has been divided into 4 equal parts.
Fractions can be used to represent a wide range of quantities, such as parts of a pizza, lengths of a ruler, or portions of a group. They are a fundamental concept in mathematics and are essential for understanding more advanced topics like ratios, proportions, and algebra.
When working with fractions, it's important to understand the following key terms and notations:
 Numerator: The number on top of the fraction, representing the number of parts being considered.
 Denominator: The number on the bottom of the fraction, representing the total number of equal parts that make up the whole.
 Proper fraction: A fraction where the numerator is less than the denominator (e.g., 3/4, 1/5, 7/8).
 Improper fraction: A fraction where the numerator is greater than or equal to the denominator (e.g., 5/4, 7/7, 10/2).
 Mixed number: A number that consists of a whole number and a proper fraction (e.g., 2 3/4, 4 1/2, 6 5/8).
Learners should practice identifying and comparing different types of fractions, as well as understanding the relationship between the numerator and denominator.
Key Takeaways:
 Fractions represent a part of a whole, with the numerator indicating the number of parts and the denominator indicating the total number of equal parts.
 Fractions can be classified as proper, improper, or mixed numbers, based on the relationship between the numerator and denominator.
 Understanding the basic terminology and notation of fractions is essential for working with more advanced fractional concepts.
3.2 Equivalent Fractions
Equivalent fractions are fractions that represent the same value, even though they have different numerators and denominators. For example, 1/2, 2/4, 3/6, and 4/8 are all equivalent fractions, as they all represent the same quantity (onehalf).
There are two key ways to find equivalent fractions:

Multiplying the numerator and denominator by the same nonzero number: This will create a new fraction that is equivalent to the original. For example, to find an equivalent fraction of 1/2, we can multiply both the numerator and denominator by 4, resulting in 4/8, which is equivalent to 1/2.

Dividing the numerator and denominator by the same nonzero number: This will also create a new equivalent fraction. For example, to find an equivalent fraction of 6/12, we can divide both the numerator and denominator by 6, resulting in 1/2, which is equivalent to 6/12.
Equivalent fractions are important because they allow us to compare and manipulate fractions more easily. By finding a common denominator, we can add, subtract, and compare fractions with different denominators. Learners should practice identifying equivalent fractions and using the techniques of multiplying or dividing the numerator and denominator to find them.
Key Takeaways:
 Equivalent fractions are fractions that represent the same quantity, even though they have different numerators and denominators.
 To find equivalent fractions, you can multiply or divide both the numerator and denominator by the same nonzero number.
 Equivalent fractions are essential for comparing, adding, and subtracting fractions with different denominators.
3.3 Adding and Subtracting Fractions
Adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators requires finding a common denominator. The common denominator is the least common multiple (LCM) of the denominators.
To add or subtract fractions with different denominators, follow these steps:
 Find the least common multiple (LCM) of the denominators.
 Convert each fraction to an equivalent fraction with the LCM as the denominator.
 Add or subtract the numerators of the equivalent fractions.
 Simplify the resulting fraction, if possible.
For example, to add the fractions 1/3 and 1/4:
 The LCM of 3 and 4 is 12.
 Convert the fractions to equivalent fractions with a denominator of 12:
 1/3 becomes 4/12
 1/4 becomes 3/12
 Add the numerators: 4/12 + 3/12 = 7/12
 The resulting fraction is already in simplest form.
Subtracting fractions follows a similar process, with the main difference being that you subtract the numerators of the equivalent fractions rather than adding them.
Learners should practice adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators, using the common denominator method, and simplifying the resulting fractions when possible.
Key Takeaways:
 To add or subtract fractions with different denominators, you must first find a common denominator.
 The common denominator is the least common multiple (LCM) of the denominators.
 Convert each fraction to an equivalent fraction with the common denominator, then add or subtract the numerators.
 Simplify the resulting fraction, if possible.
3.4 Multiplying Fractions
Multiplying fractions is a straightforward process that involves multiplying the numerators and then multiplying the denominators.
To multiply two or more fractions, follow these steps:
 Multiply the numerators together to get the new numerator.
 Multiply the denominators together to get the new denominator.
 Simplify the resulting fraction, if possible.
For example, to multiply the fractions 1/2 and 3/4:
 Multiply the numerators: 1 × 3 = 3
 Multiply the denominators: 2 × 4 = 8
 The resulting fraction is 3/8.
When multiplying fractions, the order of the factors does not matter, as multiplication is commutative. This means that 1/2 × 3/4 is the same as 3/4 × 1/2.
Learners should practice multiplying fractions, both with whole numbers and other fractions, and simplifying the resulting fractions when possible.
Key Takeaways:
 To multiply fractions, multiply the numerators together and multiply the denominators together.
 The order of the factors does not matter, as multiplication is commutative.
 Simplify the resulting fraction, if possible, by identifying any common factors between the numerator and denominator.
3.5 Dividing Fractions
Dividing fractions is related to the concept of multiplying fractions. To divide one fraction by another, we can rewrite the division as multiplication by the reciprocal of the second fraction.
The steps to divide one fraction by another are as follows:
 Take the reciprocal of the second fraction (the divisor).
 Multiply the first fraction (the dividend) by the reciprocal of the second fraction.
 Simplify the resulting fraction, if possible.
For example, to divide the fraction 2/3 by 1/4:
 The reciprocal of 1/4 is 4/1 = 4.
 Multiply 2/3 by 4: (2/3) × (4/1) = 8/3.
 The resulting fraction, 8/3, is already in simplest form.
Dividing fractions by whole numbers follows a similar process, where the whole number is first converted to a fraction with a denominator of 1 before applying the division steps.
Learners should practice dividing fractions, both by other fractions and by whole numbers, and simplify the resulting fractions when possible.
Key Takeaways:
 To divide one fraction by another, take the reciprocal of the second fraction (the divisor) and multiply it by the first fraction (the dividend).
 Dividing a fraction by a whole number can be done by first converting the whole number to a fraction with a denominator of 1.
 Simplify the resulting fraction, if possible, by identifying any common factors between the numerator and denominator.
[Second Half: Decimals and FractionDecimal Connections]
3.6 Understanding Decimals
Decimals are a way of representing fractions using a base10 number system. They use a decimal point to separate the whole number part from the fractional part.
The place value of digits in a decimal number is determined by their position relative to the decimal point. The digits to the left of the decimal point represent whole numbers, while the digits to the right represent fractions of a whole.
For example, the decimal number 3.14 can be interpreted as:
 3 represents the whole number part (3 ones)
 .14 represents the fractional part (14 hundredths)
Decimals can be used to represent a wide range of quantities, from lengths and weights to monetary values and scientific measurements. They are often used interchangeably with fractions, as they both represent the same underlying quantity.
To convert a fraction to a decimal, divide the numerator by the denominator. Conversely, to convert a decimal to a fraction, write the decimal as a fraction with the appropriate denominator based on the place value of the digits.
Learners should practice reading, writing, and comparing decimal numbers, as well as converting between fractions and decimals.
Key Takeaways:
 Decimals represent fractions using a base10 number system, with the decimal point separating the whole number part from the fractional part.
 The place value of digits in a decimal number is determined by their position relative to the decimal point.
 Decimals can be converted to fractions by writing the decimal as a fraction with the appropriate denominator, and vice versa.
3.7 Rounding Decimals
Rounding decimals is the process of adjusting a decimal number to a specified place value, usually to make calculations or measurements more manageable.
The general rules for rounding decimals are as follows:
 Look at the digit to the right of the place value you want to round to.
 If the digit is 5 or greater, round up the place value.
 If the digit is 4 or less, round down the place value.
For example, to round the decimal 3.7452 to the nearest tenth:
 The digit to the right of the tenths place is 4, so we round down.
 The result is 3.7.
Rounding decimals is important in many realworld applications, such as measurement, pricing, and data analysis. Learners should practice rounding decimals to the nearest whole number, tenth, hundredth, or thousandth, and understand the significance of rounding in various contexts.
Key Takeaways:
 Rounding decimals involves adjusting a decimal number to a specified place value.
 The general rules for rounding are to round up if the digit to the right is 5 or greater, and round down if the digit to the right is 4 or less.
 Rounding decimals is important in many realworld applications, such as measurement, pricing, and data analysis.
3.8 Adding and Subtracting Decimals
Adding and subtracting decimal numbers follows a similar process to adding and subtracting whole numbers, with the key difference being the alignment of the decimal points.
To add or subtract decimal numbers, follow these steps:
 Align the decimal points of the numbers, placing them directly on top of each other.
 Add or subtract the digits in the corresponding place values, starting from the right.
 If necessary, round the result to the desired place value.
For example, to add the decimal numbers 4.26 and 1.8:
 Align the decimal points: 4.26
 1.80
 Add the digits in the corresponding place values: 4.26

1.80
6.06
 The result, 6.06, is already in the desired place value.
When subtracting decimal numbers, the process is the same, but you subtract the digits in the corresponding place values instead of adding them.
Learners should practice adding and subtracting decimal numbers, ensuring they properly align the decimal points and round the results when necessary.
Key Takeaways:
 To add or subtract decimal numbers, align the decimal points and then add or subtract the digits in the corresponding place values.
 Ensure that the decimal points are properly aligned before performing the operations.
 Round the result to the desired place value, if necessary.
3.9 Multiplying and Dividing Decimals
Multiplying and dividing decimal numbers also follows a similar process to working with whole numbers, with a few additional steps.
To multiply decimal numbers:
 Multiply the digits in the numbers as you would with whole numbers.
 Count the total number of decimal places in the factors.
 Place the decimal point in the product so that the number of decimal places in the product is equal to the sum of the decimal places in the factors.
For example, to multiply 2.4 by 3.6:
 Multiply the digits: 2.4 × 3.6 = 8.64
 The first factor, 2.4, has 1 decimal place, and the second factor, 3.6, has 1 decimal place. So the product should have 2 decimal places.
 The final result is 8.64.
To divide decimal numbers:
 Convert the divisor to a whole number by moving the decimal point to the right.
 Move the decimal point in the dividend the same number of places to the right.
 Divide the adjusted dividend by the adjusted divisor.
 Place the decimal point in the quotient so that the number of decimal places in the quotient is equal to the number of decimal places in the dividend minus the number of decimal places in the divisor.
For example, to divide 12.45 by 1.5:
 Convert the divisor, 1.5, to a whole number by moving the decimal point 1 place to the right, making it 15.
 Move the decimal point in the dividend, 12.45, 1 place to the right, making it 124.5.
 Divide 124.5 by 15, which gives 8.3.
 The dividend had 2 decimal places, and the divisor had 1 decimal place, so the quotient should have 1 decimal place. The final result is 8.3.
Learners should practice multiplying and dividing decimal numbers, ensuring they properly align the decimal points and apply the appropriate rules for placing the decimal point in the final result.
Key Takeaways:
 To multiply decimal numbers, multiply the digits and then place the decimal point so that the number of decimal places in the product is equal to the sum of the decimal places in the factors.
 To divide decimal numbers, convert the divisor to a whole number by moving the decimal point, then move the decimal point in the dividend the same number of places. Divide the adjusted dividend by the adjusted divisor, and place the decimal point in the quotient based on the number of decimal places in the dividend and divisor.
3.10 Connecting Fractions and Decimals
Fractions and decimals are closely related, as they both represent parts of a whole. Understanding the connection between fractions and decimals is essential for problemsolving and decisionmaking in various realworld contexts.
There are a few key ways to connect fractions and decimals:

Converting Fractions to Decimals: To convert a fraction to a decimal, divide the numerator by the denominator. For example, to convert the fraction 3/4 to a decimal, divide 3 by 4, which gives 0.75.

Converting Decimals to Fractions: To convert a decimal to a fraction, write the decimal as a fraction with the appropriate denominator based on the place value of the digits. For example, the decimal 0.25 can be written as the fraction 25/100.

Equivalent Fractions and Decimals: Fractions and decimals can represent the same underlying quantity. For example, the fraction 1/2 is equivalent to the decimal 0.5, as they both represent onehalf of a whole.
Understanding the relationship between fractions and decimals allows learners to move fluidly between the two representations and apply their knowledge in various mathematical contexts, such as measurement, problemsolving, and data analysis.
Learners should practice converting between fractions and decimals, as well as recognizing when fractions and decimals represent the same quantity. This will strengthen their understanding of the connections between these two fundamental mathematical concepts.
Key Takeaways:
 Fractions and decimals are closely related, as they both represent parts of a whole.
 Fractions can be converted