



Here's
a riddle. 


What's
the difference between: 











NOTHING!






They
both mean the same thing! 











Sometimes
when we do math, 


we
will say "Take 8 and divide it by 2." 


It
might be easier with some problems 


to
write it like this: 











And
other problems might be easier to do like this: 











Either
way, we will get to the same answer. 





Most
of the time, when we divide some number, 


what
we get is different from what we started with: 

















BUT
...



There
is one time that when we divide that doesn't happen. 


Sometimes
we end up with the same number we had to start. 


That
happens when we divide by 1: 

















OK,
Great, Swell ... 


So
what? 





The
so what is that we can change any number 


to
a fraction with a 1 on the bottom anytime we want. 


It
doesn't change ANYTHING! 











Swell, 





There
is one kind of division that we can't do. 


We
can't divide ANYTHING
by ZERO! 











Don't
try it. 


It
makes a big mess! 


Some
day, if you keep studying math, 


you
will get to a tricks that let you sneak up on stuff like this. 


Until
then, don't do it. 





copyright 2005 Bruce Kirkpatrick 
