Dividing fractions and whole numbers word problems
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Tracy is putting out decorative bowls of potpourri in each room of the hotel where she works. She wants to fill each bowl with 1/5 of a can of potpourri. If Tracy has 4 cans of potpourri, in how many rooms can she place a bowl of potpourri? So she has 4 cans, and she wants to divide this 4 cans into groups of 1/5 of a can. So if you have 4 of something and you're trying to divide it into groups of a certain amount, you would divide by that amount per group. So you want to divide 4 by 1/5. You want to divide 4 cans of potpourri into groups of 1/5. So let's visualize this. Let me draw one can of potpourri right over here. So one can of potpourri can clearly be cut up into 5/5. We have it right over here. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. So 1 can of potpourri can fill 5 bowls if you put 1/5 in each bowl. Now, we have 4 cans. So let me paste these. So 2, 3, and 4. So how many total bowls of potpourri can Tracy fill? Well, she's got 4 cans. So this is going to be equal to-- let me do this is the right color-- this is going to be equal to, once again, she has 4 cans. And then for each of those cans, she can fill 5 bowls of potpourri because each bowl only requires a 1/5 of those cans. So this is going to be the same thing as 4 times 5. Or we can even write this as 4 times 5 over 1. 5 is the same thing as 5/1, which is the same thing as 4 times 5, which, of course, is equal to 20. She can fill 20 cans-- or I should say, with her 4 cans, she can fill 20 bowls of potpourri. Now, just as a review here, we've already seen that dividing by a number is equal to multiplying by its reciprocal. And we see that right over here. Dividing by 1/5 is the same thing as multiplying by the reciprocal of 1/5, which is 5/1. So she could fill up 20 bowls of potpourri.