How to Solve a One-Step Problem Involving Ratios

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  • 0:01 What Is a Ratio?
  • 1:05 How Can We Use Ratios?
  • 1:49 Process for Using Ratios
  • 2:58 Ratio Example
  • 3:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

Ratios show the relationship between different things. They can be very useful in math and everyday life. Learn how you can quickly and easily solve one-step ratio problems.

What Is a Ratio?

Have you ever had a party? Even if you've not had a crazy party that people talk about for weeks afterwards, complete with paintball and the best cake anyone has ever tasted, chances are you've had people over to watch a movie or hang out. So, how did you decide how much food to get when they came over? Did you just blindly order pizza and buy soft drinks, hoping not to run out? Or, did you put some thought into it? After all, a few pieces of leftover pizza is awesome, but a bunch of leftover pizza just goes stale in the fridge. So, what did you do?

Chances are you made use of a ratio. A ratio is a constant that shows the relationship between two different goods. It's similar to a rate, but whereas rates are often in terms of only one of a given quantity, ratios can be in terms of multiple units. For example, a ratio could be two pizzas for every five people coming to your party. In this lesson, we're going to learn more about ratios, as well as how to use them to solve problems.

How Can We Use Ratios?

Okay, I admit it. Planning how many pizzas to buy based off how many people are coming to hang out may very well be the most important use of ratios that we can think of. Well, except for video game consoles per group of people, but that's a different story altogether. In short, ratios make sure that we don't have too much or too few of something we need. That means that they are essential for planning parties, but they have many other uses, too. Schools have to make sure that they keep a good ratio between teachers and students, or people don't learn anything. Cell phone companies need to make sure that they have a good ratio of bandwidth to customers, or everyone's data moves really, really slow. In short, ratios are everywhere.

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