Browsing category fractions

Ask Uncle Colin: simplifying fractions

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions -- and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can. Dear Uncle Colin, I'm having trouble cancelling fractions -- in

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Using continued fractions to generate rational approximations

A redditor asks: How would I find a good rational approximation to something like $\log_{10}(7)$? The Mathematical Ninja mutters 0.85 under his breath, as a matter of course, reasoning that $\log_{10}(7) \approx \log_{10}\left(\sqrt{ \frac {10^2 }{2} } \right)$, although my calculator says 0.845098, so he's off by about 0.6%. However,

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“Just invert and multiply”

Ours is not to reason why; just invert and multiply. - Anonymous Rule number one of Fractions club is: do NOT let the Mathematical Ninja hear you talking like that, otherwise you’re not going to have ears to hear rule number two. I mean - that is a way to

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Tamil Fractions

A friend asks for REASONS: THAERTTHUGAL n. The smallest named fraction in the ancient Tamil language = 1/2323824530227200000000. — The QI Elves (@qikipedia) April 7, 2014 A who to the what now? A twelve-letter word, a thaerrhugaL, representing a number somewhere in the region of twenty-three ninety-ninths of a sextillionth.

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Simplifying algebraic fractions (GCSE algebra)

Towards the end of a GCSE paper, you're quite frequently asked to simplify an algebraic fraction like: $\frac{4x^2 + 12x - 7}{2x^2 + 5x - 3}$ Hold back the tears, dear students, hold back the tears. These are easier than they look. There's one thing you need to know: algebraic

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Simplifying algebraic fractions (GCSE algebra)

Towards the end of a GCSE paper, you're quite frequently asked to simplify an algebraic fraction like: $\frac{4x^2 + 12x - 7}{2x^2 + 5x - 3}$ Hold back the tears, dear students, hold back the tears. These are easier than they look. There's one thing you need to know: algebraic

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The Sausage Rule: Secrets of the Mathematical Ninja

The student stared, blankly, at the sine rule problem in front of him. $\frac{15}{\sin(A)} = \frac{20}{\sin(50^º)}$ "I don't know where to st," he started whining as something flew past his head. He knew better than to turn and look at whatever implement of death and destruction he had dodged. "I

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There’s More Than One Way To Do It: Algebraic Division

Doing long division is like going to watch Raith Rovers play: you can force yourself do it, but why would you? I'm not going to show you the long division way. It's too much fuss to set out, and frankly I can't be bothered with it. There's a way I

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When BIDMAS goes bad

A reader asks: "When you're working out an expression, why do you sometimes divide after you multiply, when the BIDMAS rules say D comes before M?" This is exactly the reason I don't like BIDMAS - because it suggests something that simply isn't true (that division is before multiplication and

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When BIDMAS goes bad

A reader asks: "When you're working out an expression, why do you sometimes divide after you multiply, when the BIDMAS rules say D comes before M?" This is exactly the reason I don't like BIDMAS - because it suggests something that simply isn't true (that division is before multiplication and

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