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Multiplying 2 fractions: 5/6 x 2/3

When multiplying fractions, you first start with the two fractions you want to multiply. You multiply the numerators (the top numbers) together, and then multiply the denominators (the bottom numbers) together. After putting the two results together as a new fraction, you may need to simplify the fraction in order to express it in its lowest terms. Created by Sal Khan and Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

Video transcript

We're asked to multiply 5/6 times 2/3 and then simplify our answer. So let's just multiply these two numbers. So we have 5/6 times 2/3. Now when you're multiplying fractions, it's actually a pretty straightforward process. The new numerator, or the numerator of the product, is just the product of the two numerators, or your new top number is a product of the other two top numbers. So the numerator in our product is just 5 times 2. So it's equal to 5 times 2 over 6 times 3, which is equal to-- 5 times 2 is 10 and 6 times 3 is 18, so it's equal to 10/18. And you could view this as either 2/3 of 5/6 or 5/6 of 2/3, depending on how you want to think about it. And this is the right answer. It is 10/18, but when you look at these two numbers, you immediately or you might immediately see that they share some common factors. They're both divisible by 2, so if we want it in lowest terms, we want to divide them both by 2. So divide 10 by 2, divide 18 by 2, and you get 10 divided by 2 is 5, 18 divided by 2 is 9. Now, you could have essentially done this step earlier on. You could've done it actually before we did the multiplication. You could've done it over here. You could've said, well, I have a 2 in the numerator and I have something divisible by 2 into the denominator, so let me divide the numerator by 2, and this becomes a 1. Let me divide the denominator by 2, and this becomes a 3. And then you have 5 times 1 is 5, and 3 times 3 is 9. So it's really the same thing we did right here. We just did it before we actually took the product. You could actually do it right here. So if you did it right over here, you'd say, well, look, 6 times 3 is eventually going to be the denominator. 5 times 2 is eventually going to be the numerator. So let's divide the numerator by 2, so this will become a 1. Let's divide the denominator by 2. This is divisible by 2, so that'll become a 3. And it'll become 5 times 1 is 5 and 3 times 3 is 9. So either way you do it, it'll work. If you do it this way, you get to see the things factored out a little bit more, so it's usually easier to recognize what's divisible by what, or you could do it at the end and put things in lowest terms.