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A few months ago we posted our first project on Kickstarter--a tool called the Fraction Calculator--a 15$ utility that converts fractions and percentages into decimals.
There are special terms for the numbers that make up a fraction. The number on the bottom is called the denominator. This is how many parts the whole is divided into. In our pizza example, the whole is divided into eight parts, so this fraction has a denominator of eight. The word denominator is a fancy word that simply means “the thing that divides.” Sometimes instead of denominator you may encounter the word divisor, but it’s the same thing. Another way to think about a denominator is to understand it tells you how big each fractional piece is, so for example if our pizza is sliced into eight pieces, you can picture in your mind roughly how big each one is. If our pizza is sliced into 20 slices, you can imagine that each slice is going to be much smaller. This can be a stumbling block… As the denominator gets larger, each fractional part of the whole is actually smaller. This can be confusing when you are first learning about fractions because we are used to larger numbers corresponding to meaning larger real-world values, but in this case a larger value in the divisor may actually make the value of the entire fraction smaller. For example, 1/8 is actually a bigger value (a bigger slice of pizza) than 1/20. (Source: www.dadsworksheets.com)
The top number in a fraction is called the numerator, which is just another fancy for that means “the thing that counts.” This represents the actual value in terms of how many parts of the whole are being represented by the fraction. In our pizza example, when you were really hungry and ate three slices, we represented that as the fraction 3/8. The numerator is three in this case and represents the three of the eight parts that make up the whole. When you swap the numerator and denominator of a fraction, the result is something called a reciprocal. This procedure is sometimes called “inverting” or “taking the reciprocal” of a fraction. A reciprocal of a fraction has an interesting characteristic. If you multiply a fraction and a reciprocal of that fraction, the result will have the same number on the in the numerator and the denominator, which means it will reduce to one. Try it out in the fraction calculator by multiplying 2/3 by 3/2 and see. (Source: www.dadsworksheets.com)