Question

Dear Mitch,

Do you know a quick way to figure out how many cookies each person should get if you have to divide up a certain number of cookies fairly for a different amount of people?

(Like if you have 5 cookies and 3 people, how do you do that fast?)

Take care,

Anthony

Answer

Dear Anthony,

Yes, I do know a quick way to do that procedure.

You take the number of the items you are handing out (here, cookies), and you write that number down on a piece of paper.

Then you draw a little horizontal line under that number. Then you put the number of people who will be sharing equally under that little horizontal line.

You now have a fraction.

For example, 6 cookies divided up among three people should look like this:

6/3.

Well, one of the ways to read the line between the top part of a fraction and bottom part is "divided by". And so you simply have 6 divided by 3 which equals 2.

Each person would get 2 cookies.

This same method works even when the answer isn't so neat (in other words, when the answer has a remainder.)

So, 5 cookies divided by 2 people =

5/2 = 2 1/2.

Each person would get two-and-a-half cookies.

And it also works when there are more people than cookies.

3 cookies divided up among 4 people =

3/4 =

3/4 cookie per person.

Each of the four people would get 3/4 of a cookie.

Hope this helps,

Mitch