Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from John, a student:

y squared over 3 times 8 over y

Hi John.

I bet if I changed the question to this:

"What is (5 squared over 3) times (8 over 5)?"

You'd say I should multiply the numerators together and multiply the denominators together so I'd have (52 x 8) / (3 x 5). You'd be right. And the next step is cancelling the 5 on the bottom with one of the 5s on the top, because 52 really means 5 x 5 anyway. So I'd be left with (5 x 8) / 3 = 40 / 3.

With y taking the place of 5, it works the same way John.

Your answer will still have a y in it. You just have to simplify the

Stephen La Rocque.

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