Subtract Unlike Fractions

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Subtracting Unlike Fractions

What are Unlike Fractions?

Unlike fractions are fractions that have different denominators (the bottom numbers). For example, 2/5 and 3/4 are unlike fractions because their denominators, 5 and 4, are not the same.

How to Subtract Unlike Fractions

To subtract unlike fractions, you first need to find a common denominator for both fractions and then adjust the numerators accordingly.

Steps for Subtracting Unlike Fractions

  1. Find a Common Denominator: This is a number that both denominators can divide into evenly. The least common multiple (LCM) of the two denominators is often used.
  2. Convert Fractions to Equivalent Fractions with the Common Denominator: Adjust the numerators based on the new denominators.
  3. Subtract the New Fractions: Once the fractions have the same denominator, subtract their numerators.
  4. Simplify the Result: If possible, reduce the resulting fraction to its simplest form.

Real-life Examples

Example 1: Sharing a Pizza

Imagine you and your friends ordered two pizzas. The first pizza, cut into 8 slices, has 3 slices left, and the second pizza, cut into 6 slices, has 4 slices left. To find out how many more slices are left in the second pizza:

  • Find a common denominator for 8 and 6. The least common multiple is 24.
  • Convert 3/8 to 9/24 and 4/6 to 16/24.
  • Subtract the fractions: 16/24 – 9/24 = 7/24.

There are 7 more slices left in the second pizza than in the first.

Example 2: Filling and Emptying a Tank

Suppose a water tank is 3/5 full and you empty out 1/4 of its capacity. To find out how much water remains:

  • Find a common denominator for 5 and 4. The least common multiple is 20.
  • Convert 3/5 to 12/20 and 1/4 to 5/20.
  • Subtract the fractions: 12/20 – 5/20 = 7/20.

After emptying, the tank is 7/20 full.

Why Subtract Unlike Fractions?

Subtracting unlike fractions is important in real-life situations such as calculating differences in measurements, adjusting recipes, or managing resources where the parts are not initially equal.

 

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