By Steve Slavin

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In fact, no mathematician can go to bed at night until his or her fractions have been reduced to their lowest possible denominators (or bottom numbers). Take the fraction 4/10. That might leave you satisfied, but I can't tell you how much the sight of a 4 over a 10 would frustrate a mathematician, who would immediately reduce it to 2/5. Now I know that you might not lose much sleep over 4/10, but think of all the mathematicians you'd keep up all night by not reducing all of your fractions to their lowest denominators.

8 2 Fast Division Fast division is the exact reverse of fast multiplication. Instead of moving the decimal place to the right, we move it to the left. And in the case of whole numbers ending with zeros, we subtract zeros. Are you ready for some problems? Please work these out. Problems: Divide each of the following numbers by 10: a. 800 b. 3 Solutions: a. 80 b. 6 c. 03 In each case what we did was move the decimal one place to the left. 03. Now we'll divide by 100. All you'll do here is move the decimal two places to the left.

Solution: What we really have here is a multiplication problem masquerading as a division problem. We could divide $30 by 7 1/2 and get our cost per bale: But here's an easier way: If you'd like to review this type of operation, you'll find it in frames 4 and 5 of chapter 8. It should be emphasized that there's no one correct method to solve most mathematical problems. Like accountants, mathematicians are most concerned with the bottom line. Let's see how you do on this self-test. Self-Test 1 1.

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