To illustrate, we consider the division problem . Instead of using a model this time, we solve this fraction division problem using the missingfactor definition of division, fraction multiplication, and properties for solving equations. This strategy will lead us to a general rule for computing division of fractions.
The following is an overview of the strategy we will use. A statementreason table for this strategy appears later on this page. Read through this overview and then study the statementreason table and try to follow the reasoning being used. In the end, we generate a simple rule for computing division of fractions, which is based on this strategy.
1. By the missingfactor definition of division, we know that if and only if .
2. Remember when we solved equations like 4x = 12 , we used a property of equality to divide both sides of the equation by 4 to get 1 · x = 3 or x = 3. We used a property of equality to get the x alone on the left side of the equation.
3. Using the same strategy on , we need to find a value we can multiply both sides of the equation by so that that value times equals 1. Since , the value we need to multiply both sides of this equation by is .
4. Therefore, and then and finally .
Statement 
Reason 

Original Problem 



(Strategy: use so that ) 



Simplification of Fractions




Note the above problem has , which follows the "invert the divisor and multiply by the reciprocal" rule.
In the previous example, we saw how the process of dividing fractions is based on rewriting the problem in its multiplication form and then solving by multiplying both sides of the equation by a value that will simplify the problem to the form 1 · x = ___ where ___ is a fraction multiplication problem. The key to this process is finding pairs of numbers that when multiplied equal one. In other words, we use the multiplicative inverse or reciprocal.
You are going to bake cookies and only have threefourths of a cup of flour. If the recipe states that twothirds of a cup flour is needed to make a single batch of cookies. How many batches of cookies can you make if you use all of the flour? Solution
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