A fraction is a way of representing part of a whole. For example, if a pie is cut into 6 pieces and two are taken out, then the 4 that are left in the dish can be expressed as four-sixths of the whole or 4/6. However, this is not a fraction that is in its simplest form because it can be reduced to 2/3. (Each part of the fraction, the top and bottom numbers, that is, can be divided by 2).
Thus, a fraction is in its simplest form when the top number, or numerator, and the bottom number, or denominator, are expressed in their smallest (easiest) way. Putting fractions in their smallest way is called reducing them.
Here are 3 examples:
1. 8/16 = 1/2 (the numerator and denominator can each be divided by 8 and be reduced)
2. 18/27 - 2/3 (the numerator and denominator can each be divided by 9 and be reduced)
3. 30/50 = 3/5 (the numerator and denominator can each be divided by 10 and be reduced)