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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

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Instructor:
*Mark Boster*

Sometimes you may want to make something larger or smaller than it really is. You might want to make an object smaller, so it fits in a smaller area. Maybe you want it bigger, so playing with it would be easier. Either way, you need to know what scale factor is so your object does not look odd when you finish shrinking or enlarging it.

Benjamin's father was an architect who made drawings and models of buildings. One day his father brought home a little cardboard building that was built to the scale of a new building that was going to be built downtown. It looked just like a real building, just smaller. Do you ever wonder if you could use scale factor to create something tiny, but that still looks like the real thing?

Benjamin decided to try and build a scale factor doghouse for his dog, Smedley. **Scale factor** is the number used to multiply the dimensions of one object by to get an object that looks the same but it is larger or smaller than the original object. For example, if you have a square that is one foot on each side, and use the scale factor of two, then each side of the square would be multiplied by two. This makes the square large. Now each side of the square is two feet.

Perhaps there is a triangle that is two inches high and one inch wide. Well, using the scale factor of 1/2, the triangle would become smaller. Now the triangle is one inch high and .5 inches wide. In other words, the sides would all be .5 (half) as long.

Look at the diagram of the triangles and squares; you can see that changing the scale factor does not alter the shape at all, just the size. It is just like if you put a picture on a copy machine and made it larger or smaller. It would look exactly the same except for the size.

Well, Benjamin started thinking about Smedley and forgot all about the doghouse. He wanted to make pictures of his dog to scale. He used different scale factors to change the size of Smedley's pictures, some of them didn't work out too well. He started with a small picture of Smedley and made images that had a scale factor of two and three. Do you see how everything is the same, only bigger on those two pictures? It looks just as if a picture of Smedley was put into a copy machine and enlarged. Do you see how it is exactly the same, only a different size?The other two pictures look different. They're are not drawn to scale. They sort of look like Smedley got smashed or stretched. This is because the same scale factor was not used on all sides of the image. You have to multiply all sides by the same scale factor to keep the object similar.

**Scale factor** is the number used to multiply one object by to get another object that looks the same but is a different size. It makes an exact copy only larger or smaller than the original. Scale Factor multiplies the picture or object just as if you enlarged or shrank it on a copy machine.

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13 in chapter 11 of the course:

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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

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