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Dividing Radicals and Rationalizing the Denominator - Problem 7

Teacher/Instructor Alissa Fong
Alissa Fong

MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area

Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts

In math, we try to leave the denominators of any fraction as rational numbers (as opposed to roots.) If you have a root in the denominator of your fraction, in order to make it rational, you need to multiply both top and bottom of the fraction by that root. This process is called "rationalizing the denominator" because, if done correctly, the bottom of the fraction becomes an integer and the only roots will be in the numerator. You can choose to simplify the root in the denominator either before you begin (which gives you smaller numbers to work with throughout) or after you have multiplied top and bottom- you should get the same answer either way.

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