Page 6, Topic 5
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Division into 3

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Division into 3

When it comes to computing fractions, calculators fall into two types, fixed and floating point. You can find out which type of calculator you are using by performing this simple calculation.

Enter this calculation:

Take the answer and multiply it by 3.

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Explanation

If you got the answer 3, your calculator uses a floating point system (scientific calculator). If you got the answer 0.999999…, you are using a fixed point calculator (standard calculator.) Both of these answers are correct. When 1 is divided by 3, the result is an infinite number series.

When we multiply these numbers by 3, it should equal 0.999999…. Where did the missing fraction go?

Try something:

What other numbers (1 – 9) act in this way? (Check the answer).

Notice that the fractions that are finite are only ever made up of the numbers 1, 2 and 5.