Introduction to Fractions

A photo of several bakers at work on a table in a classroom setting.

Figure 4.1 Bakers combine ingredients to make delicious breads and pastries. (credit: Agustín Ruiz, Flickr)

Often in life, whole amounts are not exactly what we need. A baker must use a little more than a cup of milk or part of a teaspoon of sugar. Similarly a carpenter might need less than a foot of wood and a painter might use part of a gallon of paint. In this chapter, we will learn about numbers that describe parts of a whole. These numbers, called fractions, are very useful both in algebra and in everyday life. You will discover that you are already familiar with many examples of fractions!