Allison has experience teaching high school and college mathematics and has a master's degree in mathematics education.
Fractions in Real Life
Imagine that your parents are ordering 3 pizzas for dinner from your favorite pizza place. Each pizza has 4 slices. Your mother says that your family can only eat 9/4 of the pizzas, as she wants to save the rest of the pies for lunch the next day. So how many pies and slices can your family eat for dinner?
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Before we learn exactly how much pizza your family can eat for dinner, let's go over a few definitions. The number 9/4 is what we call an improper fraction, or one where the numerator is bigger than the denominator. Since 9 is bigger than 4, the number 9/4 is an improper fraction.
In order to learn how much pizza your family can eat for dinner, we must change 9/4 to a mixed number. A mixed number has two parts: a whole number and a fraction. An example of a mixed number is 1 ½. In this example, the number 1 is the whole number and ½ is the fraction. Now, let's learn how to change the improper fraction 9/4 to a mixed number. Remember that we're looking for both parts: a whole number and a fraction.
First, let's calculate how many times 4, or the denominator, goes into 9, the numerator. The best way to do this is to use long division: 4 goes into 9 twice, with a remainder of 1. Remember, in this step, we're only looking for how many times 4 goes into 9. So, we can ignore the remainder for now. Since 4 goes into 9 two times, we can say that 2 is the whole number in our mixed number.
Now let's deal with the remainder for our long division problem. That remainder is the numerator in a mixed number; in this case, 1.
The third step in the process of converting a fraction to a mixed number is the easiest step. Remember that we still need a denominator for our mixed number. The denominator is the exact same number as the denominator in the original improper fraction; in this case, 4.
So 9/4 equals 2 1/4. Now we know that your family can eat two whole pizzas and one slice from the third pizza for dinner.
An improper fraction is one where the numerator is bigger than the denominator. Changing an improper fraction like 9/4 to a mixed number, or one that includes a whole number and a fraction, is simple.
First, divide 9 by 4. The result, or 2, becomes the whole number in the mixed number. Second, use the remainder to represent the numerator in the fractional part of the mixed number; in this case, 1. Third, recycle the denominator from the original improper fraction, or 4. Here, rewriting the improper fraction 9/4 as a mixed number gives us 9/4 = 2 ¼.
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9/4 as a Mixed Number: How-to & Steps
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