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Writing improper fractions as mixed numbers

Sal rewrite 7/4 as a mixed number. Created by Sal Khan and Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

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Video transcript

Write 7/4 as a mixed number. So right now it's an improper fraction. 7 is larger than 4. Let's write it is a mixed number. So first I'm just going to show you a fairly straightforward way of doing it and then we're going to think a little bit about what it actually means. So to figure out what 7/4 represents as a mixed number, let me write it in different colors. So this is going to be equal to-- the easiest way I do it is you say, well, you divide 4 it 7. If we're dealing with fourths, 4 goes into 7 a total of one time. Let me do this in another color. 1 times 4 is 4. And then what is our remainder? 7 minus 4 is 3. So if we wanted to write this in plain-- well, let me just do the problem, and then we'll think about what it means in a second. So you see that 4 goes into 7 one time, so you have one whole here, and then how much do you have left over? Well, you have 3 left over, and that comes from right over there. That is the remainder when you divide 4 into 7. 3 left over, but it's 3 of your 4, or 3/4 left over. So that's the way we just converted it from an improper fraction to a mixed number. Now, it might seem a little bit like voodoo what I just did. I divided 4 into 7, it goes one time, and then the remainder is 3, so I got 1 and 3/4. But why does that make sense? Why does that actually makes sense? So let's draw fourths. Let's draw literally 7 fourths and maybe it'll become clear. So let's do a little square as a fourth. So let's say I have a square like that, and that is 1/4. Now, let's think about what seven of those mean, so let me copy and paste that. Copy and then paste it. So here I have 2 one-fourths, or you could see I have 2/4. Now I have 3 one-fourths. Now, I have 4 one-fourths. Now this is a whole, right? I have 4 one-fourths. This is a whole. So let me start on another whole. So now I have 5. Now I have 6 one-fourths, and now I have 7 one-fourths. Now, what does this look like? So all I did is I rewrote 7/4, or 7 one-fourths. I just kind of drew it for you. Now, what does this represent? Well, I have 4 fourths here, so this is 4/4. This right here is 3/4. Notice, 7/4 is 4/4 with 3/4 left over. So let me write it this way. 7/4 is 4/4 with 3/4 left over. Now what is 4/4? 4/4 is one whole. So you have one whole with 3/4 left over, so you end up with 1 and 3/4. So that is the 3/4 part and that is your one whole. Hopefully that makes sense and hopefully you understand why it connects. Because you say, well, how many wholes do you have? When you're dividing the 4 into the 7 and getting the one, you're essentially saying how many wholes? So the number of wholes, or you can imagine, the number of whole pies. And then how many pieces do we have left over? Well, we have 3 pieces and each piece is 1/4, so we have 3/4 left over. So we have one whole pie and three pieces, which are each a fourth left over.