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How to Divide Fractions

In grades 5 and 6, students learn how to multiply and divide fractions.  Below we are going to tackle dividing a fraction by a fraction. It can be tricky to learn, but with some simple rules to follow, students can master these equations.


There is more than one method to divide fractions. The most commonly used is what is called “invert and multiply”. Here’s how that works:

Dividing fractions – invert and multiply


In dividing fractions you take the reciprocal (invert the fraction) of the divisor and multiply the dividend.


It’s easier to understand this visually. Here’s how that looks:

dividing fractions
 
Let’s divide two fractions: 4/5 ÷ 2/3


Invert the fraction that you are dividing by:

dividing fractions
 
Multiply the numerators and denominators:

dividing fractions
 
Now simplify the fraction:

dividing fractions
 
Dividing fractions – common denominator


A longer way, and possibly more correct way, is to divide with common denominators. This means we need to make the denominators of both fractions the same.


In our example:


Find a common denominators and convert each fraction to its equivalent value:

dividing fractions
 
Now that the denominators are the same, we can divide the numerators:

dividing fractions
 
Simplify the fraction:

dividing fractions
 
If you are looking for worksheets to practice dividing fractions, you can find them in our grade 5 and grade 6 math sections for dividing fractions.