Rational Numbers

The set of real numbers is made up of two different sets of numbers -- the set of rational numbers and the set of irrational numbers. This means every real number is either a rational number OR an irrational number, no number can be in both sets. There are many more irrational numbers than rational numbers.

Rational numbers are numbers that can be represented by the ratio of two integers p/q (but q CANNOT be zero!) while irrational numbers cannot be written as the ratio of two integers. We commonly call rational numbers fractions.

The numerator and denominator of a fraction have specific roles in the value of the amount being represented. The denominator names the pieces that make up the "whole." The whole will change depending on the circumstances, but the denominator identifies how the whole is being divided. The numerator of a fraction tells how many pieces we have.

EXAMPLE: 2/3 tells us that the whole is divided into parts called "thirds" and that we have two of those parts.

EXAMPLE: 5/3 tells us that the whole is divided into thirds and that we have five of those parts.

EXAMPLE: 8/10 tells us that the whole contains ten parts and that we have eight of those parts. Looks like two crayons are missing from the box!

EXAMPLE: 11/10 tells us that the whole contains tenths and that we have eleven of those parts. In this context we have an extra crayon from someone else's box!

Rational and irrational numbers
Interactive questions
Online review of fractions