In This Chapter
Identifying parts of a fraction
Deconstructing fractions — their types, their structures, and some cautions
Performing basic fraction math: multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction
You use fractions without even thinking. You even do the math in your head. You can say "I'll meet you at a quarter past three." That's a fraction. Or you tell a friend, "I started with a full tank of gas, but now I only have 3/4 of a tank. I must have used 1/4 tank this afternoon." That's using fractions and doing math with them.
Fractions are common in technical work. Carpenters, drywallers, chefs, landscapers, cosmetologists, roofers, pastry makers, and concrete pourers (to name but a few) make measurements all the time, and most of those measurements include fractions.
The framing carpenter tells the apprentice to "make sure those studs are 92⅝ inches long." In the culinary arts (mainly cooking and pastry making), measuring and converting fractions are essential. The professional hair colorist uses fractions when mixing 10 Volume or 20 Volume peroxide developer with different proportions of distilled water to make a 5 volume solution for "refreshing" color or doing ends.
Yet some folks get sweaty palms and a chill down the spine when it comes to using fractions in math. No need for that! Fractions are friends — commonplace, easy to work with, essential for getting work done, and fun to use (well, maybe that's stretching it). To succeed with fractions, ...