How to Multiply Fractions

Is your child struggling with how to multiply fractions? Here are a few tips to help you explain how it's done.

Reducing Fractions
The great thing about multiplying fractions is that unlike adding and subtracting, there's no need to find the least common denominator. You simply need to multiply the numerators by each other and the denominators by each other. Let's take a look at an example.

Say you want to multiply 3/6 by 2/5. The first thing you should always do is check to see if you can reduce any of the fractions. This is done by finding a number that can divide into both the numerator and the denominator. In our example, 3/6 can be reduced to ½ by dividing the numerator and denominator by 3. The fraction 2/5 cannot be reduced. Now you need to set up your equation. It should look like this: 1/2 x 2/5.

Simple Multiplication
The next step is to multiply the numerators by each other. The numerators are the top half of each fraction. For the example above you would be multiplying 1 by 2, which equals 2. Now you need to multiply the lower half of the fractions, the denominators. You have 2 times 5 which equals 10. The product should equal 2/10.

You're not done yet. Once you've found the product, always check to see if it can be reduced as well. If you divide the numerator and denominator by 2, you get the final product of 1/5. Let's review the equation as a whole below:

3/6 x 2/5 = 1/2 x 2/5 = 2/10 = 1/5

If your child is still having trouble, try setting up some other fractions lessons using different numbers. Make sure that he is doing them out by hand so that he understands the whole process. Then have him double-check the answers with a calculator to see if he's on track.

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