What Are Composite Numbers? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Are Odd & Even Numbers? - Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Arranging Pies
  • 0:49 Prime and Composite Numbers
  • 2:03 Example
  • 2:37 Evens and Composites
  • 3:27 Composite Numbers,…
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joseph Vigil
In this lesson, you'll learn what composite numbers are and briefly touch on prime numbers. You'll also learn a couple of rules about composite numbers. Then, you can test your new knowledge with a brief quiz.

Arranging Pies

Mr. Wallace is helping his son's class with a bake sale by taking the morning shift at the table. Altogether, the class's parents have brought six pies to sell. Mr. Wallace has a thing about rectangles, so he wants to arrange all the pies in a rectangular fashion. There are a couple of ways he could do this. He could set up one row of six pies or he could set up two rows of three pies each.

After the first rush of customers, Mr. Wallace has a mess of three pies. He's going to arrange them in a rectangular fashion again, but he only has one way to do it now: one row of three pies. Of course, he could arrange the line of pies vertically rather than horizontally, but he'd still have just one row of three pies.

Prime and Composite Numbers

When Mr. Wallace arranges the three pies, he's creating a model of multiplication. Three rows of one item is like writing 3 x 1, which gives us a product of 3. But that was the only way Mr. Wallace had of arranging those three pies because 1 and 3 are the only numbers that we can multiply together to get a factor of 3. In other words, 1 and 3 are its only factors, or numbers you multiply together to get a certain product.

That makes 3 a prime number, which is a number that has only two factors: 1 and itself. Because 3 has only two factors, there was only one way Mr. Wallace could arrange the 3 pies. There were two ways Mr. Wallace could arrange six pies, though. That's because there are two pairs of factors that we can multiply together to get a product of 6: 1 x 6 and 2 x 3. So, 6 has four factors: 1, 2, 3, and 6.

Because 6 has four factors, it's a composite number, which is a number that has more than two factors. In other words, a composite number is the opposite of a prime number.


After that first rush of customers, a parent showed up late bringing seven more pies. So Mr. Wallace is back up to ten pies. How could he arrange them into a rectangle? He could have one row of ten pies or he could have two rows with five pies each.

He can arrange ten pies in two ways because there are two factor pairs that give a product of 10. So, the factors of 10 are 1, 2, 5, and 10. Ten is a composite number because it has more than two factors.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account