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Adding fractions word problem: paint

Sal solves a word problem by adding mixed numbers with unlike denominators. Created by Sal Khan.

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  • primosaur tree style avatar for user aarav.rajesh.1
    I am confused Sal said "Cindy and Michael need 1 gallon of orange paint for the giant cardboard pumpkin they are making for Halloween. Cindy has 2/5 of a gallon of red paint. Michael has got 1/2 a gallon of yellow paint. If they mix their paints together, will they have the 1 gallon they need? So let's think about that. We're going to add the 2/5 of a gallon of red paint, and we're going to add that to 1/2 a gallon of yellow paint. And we want to see if this gets to being 1 whole gallon. So whenever we add fractions, right over here we're not adding the same thing. Here we're adding 2/5. Here we're adding 1/2. So in order to be able to add these two things, we need to get to a common denominator. And the common denominator, or the best common denominator to use, is the number that is the smallest multiple of both 5 and 2. And since 5 and 2 are both prime numbers, the smallest number's just going to be their product. 10 is the smallest number that we can think of that is divisible by both 5 and 2. So let's rewrite each of these fractions with 10 as the denominator. So 2/5 is going to be something over 10, and 1/2 is going to be something over 10. And to help us visualize this, let me draw a grid. Let me draw a grid with tenths in it. So, that's that, and that's that right over here. So each of these are in tenths. These are 10 equal segments this bar is divided into. So let's try to visualize what 2/5 looks like on this bar. Well, right now it's divided into tenths. If we were to divide this bar into fifths, then we're going to have-- actually, let me do it in that same color. So it's going to be, this is 1 division, 2, 3, 4. So notice if you go between the red marks, these are each a fifth of the bar. And we have two of them, so we're going to go 1 and 2. This right over here, this part of the bar, represents 2/5 of it. Now let's do the same thing for 1/2. So let's divide this bar exactly in half. So, let me do that. I'm going to divide it exactly in half. And 1/2 literally represents 1 of the 2 equal sections. So this is one 1/2. Now, to go from fifths to tenths, you're essentially taking each of the equal sections and you're multiplying by 2. You had 5 equals sections. You split each of those into 2, so you have twice as many. You now have 10 equal sections. So those 2 sections that were shaded in, well, you are going to multiply by 2 the same way. Those 2 are going to turn into 4/10. And you see it right over here when we shaded it initially. If you Look at the tenths, you have 1/10, 2/10, 3/10, and 4/10. Let's do the same logic over here. If you have 2 halves and you want to make them into 10 tenths, you have to take each of the halves and split them into 5 sections. You're going to have 5 times as many sections. So to go from 2 to 10, we multiply by 5. So, similarly, that one shaded-in section in yellow, that 1/2 is going to turn into 5/10. So we're going to multiply by 5. Another way to think about it. Whatever we did to the denominator, we had to do the numerator. Otherwise, somehow we're changing the value of the fraction. So, 1 times 5 is going to get you to 5. And you see that over here when we shaded it in, that 1/2, if you look at the tenths, is equal to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 tenths. And now we are ready to add. Now we are ready to add these two things. 4/10 plus 5/10, well, this is going to be equal to a certain number of tenths. It's going to be equal to a certain number of tenths. It's going to be equal to 4 plus 5 tenths. And we can once again visualize that. Let me draw our grid again. So 4 plus 5/10, I'll do it actually on top of the paint can right over here. So let me color in 4/10. So 1, 2, 3, 4. And then let me color in the 5/10. And notice that was exactly the 4/10 here, which is exactly the 2/5. Let me color in the 5/10-- 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. And so how many total tenths do we have? We have a total of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. 9 of the tenths are now shaded in. We had 9/10 of a gallon of paint. So now to answer their question, will they have the gallon they need? No, they have less than a whole. A gallon would be 10 tenths. They only have 9 tenths. So no, they do not have enough of a gallon. Now, another way you could have thought about this, you could have said, hey, look, 2/5 is less than 1/2, and you could even visualize that right over here. So if I have something less than 1/2 plus 1/2, I'm not going to get a whole. So either way you could think about it, but this way at least we can think it through with actually adding the fractions."
    (8 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Royalty
    thank u for helping me i think ima get a 100
    (8 votes)
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  • hopper cool style avatar for user Emad.Siddiki.495
    you are confusing me about splitting the bar graph
    (2 votes)
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    • winston baby style avatar for user Joshua Tu
      Splitting the bar graph really isn't at all confusing.It means that you divide something into fractions so you can understand better.The best object to use is a bar graph.Sal divided the first two into different fractions.Then, when you converted the two into fractions with same denominators,you add them together.When you add it,you get the answer,which Sal demonstrated in the third bar graph. So it is not confusing at all.Thanks for reading this reply!
      (2 votes)
  • area 52 blue style avatar for user Area 52
    question when looking for a common denominator
    must it be the lowest you can find or can it be just any?
    (2 votes)
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  • hopper cool style avatar for user MatthewMLaake2009:))
    i need help with sum'm. Khan is asking me this question:
    tetras------1/6
    guppies-----2/5
    goldfish----1/4
    What fraction of Kathy's fish are either tetras or guppies?
    The thing is: do I just add them all(INCLUDING GOLDFISH) up and then divide---if it's possible----the sum of that by the sum of the guppies AND the tetras added together? What do I do? Because THIS video didn't help!
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user trevion.williams
    u going to fast slow down
    (2 votes)
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  • hopper happy style avatar for user jmarroqu0113
    i didn't get it
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user rhodagasim
    if i am to subtract two fraction and one of the denominator is missing, how do you work it out.
    (0 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user er09721
    Splitting the bar graph really isn't at all confusing.It means that you divide something into fractions so you can understand better.The best object to use is a bar graph.Sal divided the first two into different fractions.Then, when you converted the two into fractions with same denominators,you add them together.When you add it,you get the answer,which Sal demonstrated in the third bar graph. So it is not confusing at all.Thanks for reading this reply!
    (2 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Brinley Koll
    ok so i dont know how to divide
    and im really bad at math
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

Cindy and Michael need 1 gallon of orange paint for the giant cardboard pumpkin they are making for Halloween. Cindy has 2/5 of a gallon of red paint. Michael has got 1/2 a gallon of yellow paint. If they mix their paints together, will they have the 1 gallon they need? So let's think about that. We're going to add the 2/5 of a gallon of red paint, and we're going to add that to 1/2 a gallon of yellow paint. And we want to see if this gets to being 1 whole gallon. So whenever we add fractions, right over here we're not adding the same thing. Here we're adding 2/5. Here we're adding 1/2. So in order to be able to add these two things, we need to get to a common denominator. And the common denominator, or the best common denominator to use, is the number that is the smallest multiple of both 5 and 2. And since 5 and 2 are both prime numbers, the smallest number's just going to be their product. 10 is the smallest number that we can think of that is divisible by both 5 and 2. So let's rewrite each of these fractions with 10 as the denominator. So 2/5 is going to be something over 10, and 1/2 is going to be something over 10. And to help us visualize this, let me draw a grid. Let me draw a grid with tenths in it. So, that's that, and that's that right over here. So each of these are in tenths. These are 10 equal segments this bar is divided into. So let's try to visualize what 2/5 looks like on this bar. Well, right now it's divided into tenths. If we were to divide this bar into fifths, then we're going to have-- actually, let me do it in that same color. So it's going to be, this is 1 division, 2, 3, 4. So notice if you go between the red marks, these are each a fifth of the bar. And we have two of them, so we're going to go 1 and 2. This right over here, this part of the bar, represents 2/5 of it. Now let's do the same thing for 1/2. So let's divide this bar exactly in half. So, let me do that. I'm going to divide it exactly in half. And 1/2 literally represents 1 of the 2 equal sections. So this is one 1/2. Now, to go from fifths to tenths, you're essentially taking each of the equal sections and you're multiplying by 2. You had 5 equals sections. You split each of those into 2, so you have twice as many. You now have 10 equal sections. So those 2 sections that were shaded in, well, you are going to multiply by 2 the same way. Those 2 are going to turn into 4/10. And you see it right over here when we shaded it initially. If you Look at the tenths, you have 1/10, 2/10, 3/10, and 4/10. Let's do the same logic over here. If you have 2 halves and you want to make them into 10 tenths, you have to take each of the halves and split them into 5 sections. You're going to have 5 times as many sections. So to go from 2 to 10, we multiply by 5. So, similarly, that one shaded-in section in yellow, that 1/2 is going to turn into 5/10. So we're going to multiply by 5. Another way to think about it. Whatever we did to the denominator, we had to do the numerator. Otherwise, somehow we're changing the value of the fraction. So, 1 times 5 is going to get you to 5. And you see that over here when we shaded it in, that 1/2, if you look at the tenths, is equal to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 tenths. And now we are ready to add. Now we are ready to add these two things. 4/10 plus 5/10, well, this is going to be equal to a certain number of tenths. It's going to be equal to a certain number of tenths. It's going to be equal to 4 plus 5 tenths. And we can once again visualize that. Let me draw our grid again. So 4 plus 5/10, I'll do it actually on top of the paint can right over here. So let me color in 4/10. So 1, 2, 3, 4. And then let me color in the 5/10. And notice that was exactly the 4/10 here, which is exactly the 2/5. Let me color in the 5/10-- 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. And so how many total tenths do we have? We have a total of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. 9 of the tenths are now shaded in. We had 9/10 of a gallon of paint. So now to answer their question, will they have the gallon they need? No, they have less than a whole. A gallon would be 10 tenths. They only have 9 tenths. So no, they do not have enough of a gallon. Now, another way you could have thought about this, you could have said, hey, look, 2/5 is less than 1/2, and you could even visualize that right over here. So if I have something less than 1/2 plus 1/2, I'm not going to get a whole. So either way you could think about it, but this way at least we can think it through with actually adding the fractions.