# What is a Factor? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Dina Albert
When you use multiplication to find a total amount, you are working with factors. In this lesson, we will define what a factor is and explore real-world situations in which you work with factors to solve problems.

## What Is a Factor?

A factor is a number that you multiply with another number to get a product (the solution to a multiplication problem). Think of a multiplication problem as factors being multiplied to find the product. For instance, 2 and 4 are factors of 8: A number can have just two factors or many, many factors. But how? Let's explore further.

## Numbers With Only Two Factors

Let's start by looking at numbers that have only two factors--for example, the number 2. How do you make 2 using multiplication? By multiplying 1 x 2 or 2 x 1. We can say that multiplying 2 and 1 is the only way to make a product of 2. And so, we can also say that 2 has only two factors: 1 and 2.

What about the number 3, how many factors does 3 have? Let's restate the question and ask: What numbers can we multiply together to make a product of 3? Well, the only way to make 3 is by multiplying 1 x 3 or 3 x 1. So, we can say that 3 has only two factors: 1 and 3.

One more example of a number with only two factors is 5. Why? Because we can only make 5 by multiplying 1 x 5 and 5 x 1. So, 5 only has two factors: 1 and 5.

Notice that all three of the numbers we discussed above had factors of 1 and itself.

• 5 had factors of itself (5) and 1
• 3 had factors of itself (3) and 1
• 2 had factors of itself (2) and 1

Numbers such as 2, 3, 5--and any other number that only has factors of itself and 1--are called prime numbers.

## Numbers With More Than Two Factors

Now that we have discussed numbers with only two factors, let's take a look at some numbers that have more than two factors. Numbers that have more than two factors are called composite numbers. Since we skipped the number 4 in our last examples, that's the number we'll start with. This time we will use a multiplication chart to find all the ways we can make 4. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.

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