Simplify a ratio problem, for your entertainment :)

Simplify the ratio 186:403. The answer is 6:13. How do we get it?
To simplify ratios (or fractions), we need to find COMMON FACTORS of the two numbers. So, one way to do it is to first find the GCF (Greatest Common Factor) of 186 and 403. Then divide 186 and 403 by it.

Alternatively, just find ANY factor of 186 and 403, and divide both by it, to simplify the ratio somewhat, and to get started. Then repeat the process.

Okay, 403 is not divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. This I know by divisibility tests. Maybe it's divisible by 7... need to try (calculator). No, it isn't.

Maybe by 11? No.

Maybe by 13? YES. My calculator helps. 403 = 13 x 31. I happen to know both of these are primes, so therefore 403 doesn't have any other factors.

Then 186.... is it divisible by 13 or 31?
By 13, no.
By 31, YES!  186 = 31 x 6

So since 186 = 6 x 31 and 403 = 13 x 31, then the ratio 186:403 simplifies to 6:13. Clearly that's as far as we can get, as it's simplified to the lowest terms.


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