Reducing Fractions to Lowest Terms
Suppose you have the fraction
. Those are pretty big numbers to deal with. Is there a simpler
way to write the same fraction? Well, one common method is to
write the fraction in lowest terms. A fraction in lowest terms is
written using the smallest numbers possible that have the same
relationship as the numbers in the original fraction. A fraction
in lowest terms is the simplest form of that fraction. Read on to
learn how to reduce a fraction to lowest terms.
PROCEDURE: To reduce a fraction to lowest
terms, first find all the numbers that divide evenly into the
numerator and the denominator. These numbers are known as
factors. Find the largest factor that is common to both the
numerator and the denominator. This is known as the Greatest
Common Factor (GCF). Then divide both the numerator and the
denominator by the GCF.
SAMPLE PROBLEM: Reduce the fraction
to lowest terms.
Step 1: Find all the factors of the numerator
and denominator, and determine which is the largest factor in
both lists, or the GCF.
factors of the numerator 30: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 15
factors of the denominator 45: 1, 3, 5, 9, 15
Step 2: Divide both the numerator and the
denominator by the GCF, which is 15.
reduced to lowest terms is