I am kind of having trouble with fractions in order of operations — can I find some teacher help?


Dr. Aaron Smith, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Currently Program Director at Aviation Academy, Co-Author of Awakening Your STEM School

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Fractions and Order of Operations are two different skills and let me break them apart to assist you.

Fractions can be very difficult for most children and may I suggest that you first know the basics to fractions. Be sure to know equivalents such as 1/2 = 2/4 = 3/6 and so on. From here, simplifying is easier. Then when it comes to adding and subtracting fractions, the denominator must be the same. Remember that the denominator stays the same while the numerator is added or subtracted. When completed, ask yourself if there are like terms and can it be simplified. If so, do it!

When it comes to multiplying fractions you multiply the numerators and denominators across then simplify. If it is a mixed number, then you must make it an improper fraction then multiply across. Finally simplify by reducing and making it a mixed number if necessary.

Dividing fractions is the trickiest. First make the fractions into improper fractions. Then take the second fraction and flip it. Upon doing so, multiply across, simplify and make it a mixed number again if needed.

When it comes to order of operations, remember PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract. If there are multiple signs of multiplying and dividing conduct these steps from left to right. Likewise if there are multiple additions and subtractions, go from left to right.

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