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Dividing Fractions

Dividing fractions (fraction division) is almost exactly like multiplying fractions. There is only one small step you have to do first…FLIP!

In order to divide fractions, you must flip (or invert) your second fraction. Taking the inverse of the second fraction means that you put the number that is the numerator on the bottom, and the number that is the denominator on the top. You must leave the first fraction alone, do not do anything to it. You ONLY flip the second fraction. A flip (inversion) would look like this:

becomes

Like this:

See? The numerator got moved to the bottom, and the denominator got moved to the top.

Once you have flipped, then you multiply the two fractions together. One common phrase to help you remember how to divide fractions is: “Flip and multiply!”

Let’s try this in a fraction division problem. Here’s an example:

Remember, we’re going to flip the second fraction, and then multiply. Here’s what it looks like after we flip and change our division sign to multiplication:

We multiply the numerators (3 x 2) and the denominators (4 x 1) and get…

Normally we would stop here, but in this example, we have an improper fraction (see Improper Fractions for help converting this fraction into a mixed number).

After you convert this fraction into a mixed number (you'll get 1 2/4), and make sure it’s reduced (1 2/4 reduces to 1 1/2), you’re done!

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