Using Fractions in Everyday Life: Examples & Importance

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  • 0:03 Math & Shopping
  • 0:42 Fractions
  • 1:23 Cooking
  • 2:21 Telling Time & Shopping
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Fractions are not just there to give you a headache. Actually, you probably already use fractions without even knowing it. And without fractions, you wouldn't be able to tell time or cook with recipes. Learn more in this lesson.

Math & Shopping

Imagine you're shopping with your $100 in birthday money. You really want a few items you've had your eye on for a while, but they're all very expensive. You're waiting for the items to go on sale, and when they do, you rush down to the store. Instead of being marked with a new price, though, the store has a large sign that reads: All items are currently 75% off. This sounds like great news, but without doing some math, there's no way to know if you have enough money. Knowing that 75% is ¾ off the cost of each item is the best way to get started. Who knew that fractions could help your wardrobe?


Fractions are numbers that aren't whole, and mean just like they sound: a fraction, or a part of something bigger. Fractions have two numbers, a numerator (the part) and a denominator (the whole). When you first learned fractions, you probably did not see a point to having to learn them, but did you know that fractions are so useful, you already use them in your everyday life?

That's right! In the first example, you went shopping and had to use fractions to determine cost after a discount. What about when you're cooking? Have you ever wanted to double a recipe for cookies so you would have more cookies to eat? Or what about telling time? Here again, fractions are used. Let's look at these examples.


Have you ever tried baking and not following a recipe? Open up any cookbook and you'll see recipes full of fractions. Baking goodies, such as cakes and cookies, requires the exact amount of each ingredient. Missing even one tablespoon of something can dramatically change the way something tastes. While following a recipe seems easy, what happens when you want to double it to make more? This is where fractions come in when you cook.

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