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Division of Whole Numbers by Fractions

Understand how to divide a whole number by a fraction.

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Fractions of Bread

Credit: Jeremy Keith
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/502362665/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Did you know that baking bread and dividing fractions go hand in hand? If you've ever been in a bakery, you can remember the delicious smells and tempting sights that faced you the minute you walked in the door, but have you ever thought about all of the flour and measurement that goes into making one loaf of bread?

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Bakers use division and fractions every day. Think about the amount of flour that a baker uses in a day. Given the quantity of bread loaves made fresh daily, a bakery would have to use up large bags of flour. Let's take a look at how division and baking bread go together.

Credit: Laura Guerin
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A 25-pound bag of flour contains 90 cups of flour. A recipe calls for \begin{align*}2 \frac{1}{2}\end{align*} cups of flour per loaf. The baker needs to figure out how many loaves of bread can be made from one 25-pound bag of flour. To figure this out, he must divide a whole number by a fraction:

\begin{align*}90 \div 2 \frac{1}{2} = 90 \div \frac{5}{2} = 90 \times \frac{2}{5} = \frac{180}{5} = 36\end{align*}

With this calculation, the baker now knows that he can bake 36 loaves of bread from one 25-pound bag of flour.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how bread is made: http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/35508-howstuffworks-show-episode-7-bread-making-video.htm

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Check out the following websites for more on fraction division involving whole and mixed numbers.



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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Jeremy Keith; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/502362665/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Laura Guerin; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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