Make Sure Your Homeschooler Does Not Make This Common Mistake

homeschool math fractionsRecently I was working with a student and once again saw one of the most common mistakes made in algebra.  Actually it’s a mistake that has its roots when a student’s learns about basic fractions and specifically how to reduce or simplify them.  The mistake is a misconception on how to cross cancel like numbers (or variables) in the numerator and denominator in order to reduce a fraction.  The best way for me to explain the mistake is to show you some examples.   Please be on the lookout for this error as it happens very frequently with algebra students.

 

Let’s reduce this fraction

 

cross-cancel-fractions-mistake-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** You can only cross-cancel like factors, i.e. numbers or variables that are being multiplied not  numbers or variables in sums/differences

correct-reduce-fractions-factors-1

 

 

 

 

 

Another example of the mistake

cross-cancel-fractions-mistake-2

 

 

 

 

 

cross-cancel-fractions-mistake-3

 

 

 

 

** You can only cross-cancel like factors, i.e. numbers or variables that are being multiplied not  numbers or variables in sums/differences

Although you may think your child knows the above concepts well you still want to review this with them.  I can tell you that even the best of math students make this error.  So take a moment and see if your child can do the above problems- you may have discovered they were a little confused as are so many students are about this topic…

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