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Dividing Fractions Using KFC

Ugh - It's time to teach the division of fractions. My experience has been that many students forget which fraction to flip and often, they forget to change the dreaded division sign to a multiplication sign. The other evening,  I was helping my 5th grade granddaughter with her homework. Really, she had completed it by herself, but she wanted me to check it. At the top of her paper were the letters "KFC". I asked her what they meant, and she replied, "Kentucky Fried Chicken." Now I have taught math for years and years, and I had never heard of that one!

She explained that the "K" stood for keep; "F" for flip, and "C" for change. Let's suppose the problem on the left was one of the problems on her homework paper.

First, she would Keep the first fraction. Next, she would Flip the second one, and then Change the division sign to a multiplication illustrated on the right. She would then cross cancel if possible (In this case it is).  Finally, she would multiply the numerator times the numerator and the denominator by the denominator to get the answer.
She was able to work all the division problems without any trouble by just remembering the letters KFC.

Yesterday, I was working in our college math lab when a student needed help. On the right is the problem he was having difficulty with. (For those of you who don't teach algebra or just plain hate it, I am sure this problem looks daunting and intimidating. Believe me, my student felt the same way!) 
First I had the student rewrite the problem with each fraction side by side with a division sign in between them like this.
Doesn't it look easier already? I then taught him KFC. You read that right! I did! (I figured if it worked for a 5th grader, it should work for him.) Surprisingly it made sense to him because he now had mnemonic device (an acronym) that he could easily recall. He rewrote the problem by Keeping the first fraction, Flipping the second, and Changing the division sign to a multiplication sign.
Now it was just a simple multiplication problem.  Had he been able to, he would have cross canceled, but in this case, he simply multiplied the numerator times the numerator and denominator by the denominator to get the answer.

So the next time you teach the division of fractions, or you come across a problem like the one above, don't panic!  Remember KFC, and try not to get hungry!

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