Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from tashera, a student:

if a serving is 5 cookies. how many servings can i make from 4 cookies?

Hi Tashera. Those must be small cookies indeed if a serving is 5 cookies!

Let me demonstrate how this is solved with a similar question:

Q. If a lap around the race track is 1000 meters, how many laps have I gone if I go 600 meters?

A. (Of course it is obvious that since 600 is less than 1000, then the answer is less than 1 lap.) To answer this you divide: the distance you go divided by the distance for each lap. So this is 600 ÷ 1000. This is the same as the fraction with 600 written on top (it is called the "numerator") and 1000 on the bottom (that is the "denominator"). Now to simplify, you can cancel the zeros and get 6 over 10. And since 2 goes into both 6 and 10, you can simplify to 3/5; that's three-fifths, the answer to my question.

So use division to answer your question, Tashera, in the same way.

Stephen La Rocque.

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