One of my most recent fraction calculators is a calculator to add fractions. Adding fractions is an important skill for everyday activities. When creating a calculator to add fractions, I wanted it to be simple and descriptive. The whole point of creating this calculator is to help students understand the basics of adding fractions, and to check their work. Because this is a very basic operation, creating the calculator was pretty simple.

Creating the calculator page for the Adding Fractions Calculator was pretty straight-forward. I have a simple input form and calculate button for the actual operation. I also included a brief description of the steps needed to add fractions to aid in students who are learning to add fractions manually. Because the most difficult parts of the operation is to simplify the fractions once the operation is complete, there is also a link to the Simplifying Fractions Calculator.

## The Operation for Adding Fractions

The first step for adding the fractions was to create like denominators. The denominators for each fraction must be the same to properly add. I have an operation that finds the lowest common denominator that is used in this calculator as well as the Greatest Common Factor Calculator. Once the two fractions are converted to have the same denominator, the numerators can be added then the resulting fraction is converted to it’s simplest form for the answer.

On the calculator page, the example used is 1/3 + 1/5. The two fractions are converted so that the denominators are equal. In this case, the lowest common denominator is 15. This converts the fractions to 5/15 + 3/15. Now the numerators can be added to come up with a resulting fraction of 8/15. Since this is the simplest form of the fraction, 8/15 is the final answer.

## The Basics of a Fraction Calculator

AS you’ve probably guessed, this website is really devoted to creating calculators. Some of the calculators are very helpful, some are for fun, and many are just random ideas that pop into my head. As stated in my previous post, I’m doing some SEO experimenting with blogs. The most recent experiment is to promote the fraction calculators that I have created. But, before I start really delving into the absolutely non-monotonous world of fraction calculators, I need to review the basics of what is needed to calculate fractions.

## Denominators of a Fraction

When you look at a fraction, there are three basic parts. A top number, a bottom number, and that little line that separates them. That bottom number is called a denominator. The denominator is basically the total possible parts available. If we had a cake and cut it into 8 slices, the total possible slices to that cake would be 8. So if we were to right a fraction about that cake, the denominator would be 8.

## Numerators in a Fraction

So, now that you know what a denominator is, let’s look at the top number. The top number is the numerator. This number is how many actual parts you have out of the total available. If we look at our cake again, it’s been cut into 8 pieces. If an evil coworker comes by and eats two pieces, that leaves you with 6 pieces. Now you have a total of 6 pieces from the 8 that are possible for a full cake. The 6 pieces would be the numerator and the 8 pieces would be the denominator.

So, when you open the refrigerator at work, you will see that there are only 6 pieces left of the total of 8 pieces that make up a full cake. You now have a fraction of a cake. This would be 6/8

See? Fractions are easy as cake.

## Percentage, the Cousin of Fraction

Much like it’s cousin, the percentage, fractions are a numerical way of making a comparison. There are two numbers that are used in a fraction. The top number is the numerator, and the bottom number is the denominator. The numerator is the actual amount and the denominator is the total possible. If you are familiar with percentages, and convert a percentage to a fraction, the denominator would always be 100. A percentage is how many parts out of 100. If you have 25 cents, you have 25% of a dollar, or 25/100 of a dollar.

And that’s the basics of a fraction.

## Fractions Schmactions

Fractions aren’t the most exciting thing in the world, but over the next few weeks I’m going to attempt to focus on the different calculators that I’ve created that use fractions. I’ll do this by blogging my brains out about fractions, how they pertain to school work, and how they’re used in real life.

## Fractions as an SEO Experiment

There are multiple reasons why I want to concentrate on the different fraction calculators over the next few weeks. I mostly want to see what kind of impact these blogs will have on the amount of traffic. As I’m learning more about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) I am learning more about the power of blogging. So, as an experiment, I’m going to concentrate on one subject within the website to see what improvements I can make.

## Fractions in Blogs

Although I may come across some writer’s block, I’m going to attempt to post blogs on three different blog sites. There is the CalcuNation blog about my work on the website itself. There is also Homework Math Medic, a blog that pertains to math in the classroom. And finally there is the blog, Math in the Real World, that discusses different ways that fractions can be used in real life situations. There is a good chance I will bore myself, let alone anyone who reads these blogs, but I will attempt to put some insight and thought into my writing.

Along with the blogs, I will be linking from each blog to the other when the subject matter makes sense. I will also be linking to the Fraction Calculator Menu and the individual fraction calculators, like the Multiplying Fractions Calculator. I have no idea what to expect, but hopefully more users will find these online calculators and find some help for their questions with fractions.

## Summary

Hopefully, if you read this, and you understand my goal, I will be able to justify a focused effort to blog on one subject and I will see more than fractional improvement in the amount of visitors to the site. Sorry for the play on words.

## Baby Names and Family Math

I recently had the joy of receiving the news that my wife is expecting our first child. While I am relishing this wonderful moment in my life, it also brings up many thoughts of responsibility. We have to go thought baby names, plan for financial changes in our budget, and change our living arrangements. I hope this bundle of joy doesn’t bring a bundle of stress!

## Baby Names

Well, this blog is generally about mathematics, and naming a baby doesn’t really have much in common with math, but leave it to me to make a calculator, or baby name generator, to help us with ideas for baby names. I quickly pulled up multiple databases of names for girls and boys and used PHP to program a webpage to allow us to randomly choose different names for both girls and boys. All together, there are over 10,000 combinations of names that can be used with this name generator. After hours and hours of looking at different names, we finally decided on one. I’m lucky it was only hours and not “days and days”. At least this is one more thing checked off the to-do list.

## Baby Changes in Budget

I’ve heard the term “big things come in small packages”. Well, the baby may be a small package, but having a child is a big thing, especially for my budget. I have found myself revisiting all of my monthly costs associated with living expenses to be sure that we have the funds to support the new addition to the family. It’s important to keep in mind the monthly car payment and the total cost of a car loan among other expenses.

## Baby and a New House

Of course the biggest change for us is the space we need for our new family. We find ourselves in the hunt for a new home to expand. While we try to sell our current house, we keep in mind the closing costs and minimum sales price we will need to cover our loan on the house. We also need to keep in mind the new monthly mortgage payment and the PITI payment. We can’t forget the total monthly payment is made up of not just the mortgage principal and interest, but also the taxes and insurance for the home. Hence the term PITI payment.

## Summary

Things are changing in our household. Everything is expanding. And much faster than my wife’s mid-section. It’s going to be a challenge, but keeping a cool head and being intelligent with the budgets should allow us to raise our family with the least amount of stress. Bring it on!

## Percentages…Friend or Foe?

I had to really think about a clever title for a blog post on percentages.  The fact is, talking about percentage isn’t a particularly exciting topic.  I thought about the movie “Anchorman” and the line, “..60% of the time, it works every time.”.  But, that was difficult to sum up in a title.  I also like to think about the old saying, “79% of all statistics are made up on the spot.”  I have always enjoyed saying that to see what reactions I get, or to see if anyone is paying attention to what I’m saying.  The truth is, percentages are pretty straight-forward, simple and extremely useful.

## Percentages = Bling, Bling

When it comes to actually using percentages in the real world, I can’t think of where it might be used more than in the aspect of money.  I like money, I’m sure you like money, so let’s understand how we earn, or lose money.

My Grandpa used to say, “Interest is great….if you’re on the right side of it.”  Earning interest is much more fun than paying interest.  Interest is a charge for the use of money.  It is usually a percentage of the borrowed sum (principal), and it is computed over a period of time.  This can be seen in many circumstances.  You have mortgages on your property where you pay a percentage of the mortgage each month as a fee to borrow that money.  The percentage, and a value of time, are used to calculate your monthly mortgage payment.

## Pitch, Slope, and Angle

In construction, the angle of the roof is called the pitch.  This pitch is denoted as rise-over-run.  In other words, how far does the angle of the roof go up vertically for every unit you move horizontally.  If you go snow skiing, you go to the slopes.  A slope is similar to pitch, it is a measurement of an angle.  How does percentage play into slope, pitch, and angle?  If you take the rise and divide it by the run, that is your percent of slope.  Angles are measured in percent, degrees, or radians.  This is just a quick snippet of this subject, I won’t bore you on this right now.

## Percentage Calculators

There are so many ways that percentages are used in calculations we use on a daily basis.  And, since this website is dedicated to online calculators, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are plenty of examples of calculators that utilize percentages in their calculations.  If you get a moment and want to learn more about calculating a mortgage payment, or converting degrees of an angle to percentage of slope, or even if you want to figure out the percentage of humidity in the air, take a moment to browse through some of the percentage calculators on this website.

## Dieting – New Year, New Me?

Well, it’s another year, and I’m a little older. It seems that this is the time of the year that people are most likely to set goals. Whether they are attainable, or not, is another question. Many of these goals revolve around weight loss. And as evidenced by the amount of commercials that are related to dieting, the advertising companies know this is the key time of the year for that subject.

I’m Not Twenty Anymore

I’ve never been great at keeping up an exercise routine, but I’ve always been pretty good about my ability to work out and get into shape when I wanted to. I’ve noticed that it’s not as easy as it once was. I’m now in my thirties and I find myself making the same complaints that I thought were once only muttered by older people. I have had to regroup and think about my exercise and diet plans in a more strategic way. Gone are the days that I cut out a few beers a week and go for a jog once, or twice, and see results. Now I’m counting calories and calculating my target heart rate.

Calorie Math

There are so many diets and exercise gimmicks on the scene. It seems there always has been. But, when you really think about it, it’s pretty simple math. You want to burn more food energy than you put in. This has to be done within reason, and I would advise you discuss any diet ideas with a doctor. One really useful tool in the diet game is the Harris Benedict Equation and your Body Mass Index. By taking your estimated Body Mass Index and applying the Harris Benedict Equation, you can estimate the amount of calories your body needs to consume to maintain your current weight, or achieve a target diet weight.

Willpower

As with anything worth doing, it’s going to be a difficult road. But, the little amounts of willpower it takes to do a little more exercise, or switch that frosty brew for a nice glass of water, will pay off in the long run. And the longer I wait, the more difficult it will be to lose weight. So, actually, this will be the easiest diet I can implement, all diets after this will be harder.

…now for some carrots.

## 2012 Review and Resolutions

Well, 2012 is now a wrap. I took some time yesterday to review what I have done, and not done, over the last year. I do have to say that I was fairly pleased. There are a few things I need to improve upon, but it was still a great year. I look forward to making some adjustments for 2013, and I know some of those adjustments are things I want to do, but there will be some adjustments to my life that will be a necessity.

## CalcuNATION Is Alive!

What started as a project for me to learn a little about creating a website has now turned into it’s own entity. 2012 was the first full year online for my little math calculator website. It now has over 250 calculators and has evolved from 2,000 visitors/month in January 2012, to around 2,000 visitors/day. When I look back, there were a few positive surprises that really were encouraging. I was approached by a gentleman at a US Army Supply Depot to help calculate how much paint he needed to cover 10,000 advanced combat helmets. The website was mentioned on “Extreme Makeover:Weightloss Edition” for the Harris Benedict Equation Calculator. And I can’t forget all of the random emails I get with calculator ideas that I would have never thought of. Who would have thought that an “Elf on the Shelf” Name Calculator would draw 25,000 visits in one month?

## What Now?

I now find myself coming up with new website ideas and creating new website projects on a regular basis. Because I’m a bit of a math/business/tech nerd, creating websites really appeals to me. Because I also get involved with some commercial property events as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or just helping out, my wife and I decided it was time to start our own LLC. We have recently formed Selwyn Marketing and Media, LLC to move forward with our marketing events and website endeavors. I have started working with local businesses and friends to help them optimize their websites with what I have learned over the last 3 years.

## 2013 Resolutions

Well, obviously I want to keep moving forward with CalcuNATION.com. It has become more than I could have imagined. I want to see where it will go. Of course, part of that is to blog more. I have been very bad about blogging and keeping up with the social media aspect of a website like this. So, for 2013, I want to blog at least once per week on CalcuNATION. I also want to become more involved with an online community that supports blogging, and math education. I also want to make a point to add at least one new calculator per week on the website.

It’s all up to me. I guess we’ll see how well I perform on these resolutions. It might be easier to keep up with my online resolutions that my other resolutions about getting into shape, or cutting out sweets. Only time will tell. Hopefully, in 365 more days, I’ll be looking back on this blog post with a smile.

## Quantity Measurement is Important

Quantity is a pretty easy concept to grasp.  But, it isn’t always easy to measure.  Quantity is basically an amount of something.  But different substances are easier to measure than others.  For example, if you have a cup full of marbles, you may be able to pour them out and count them individually.  What if you have a cup full of rice?  How many grains of rice do you have?  There are ways of measuring quantity other than just counting.  The two most common ways are by using a volume measurement, or a weight measurement.

If you go to the grocery store most of the packaged food is going to be measured by either weight, or volume.  Some of the more common weight measurements on packages for sale in the US would be ounces and pounds.  Some of the common volume measurements would be cups, pint, quarts and gallons.  So, what type of measurement do you use when trying to determine quantity?  It really depends on the physical attributes of the substance you’re measuring.

## Quantity, How Much Is In The Jar?

When you are measuring a non-liquid substance, you will normally use weight at a measurement tool to determine quantity.  The reason you don’t use volume with a group of solid substances is because you can’t account for the tiny space in between the individual units.  For example, if you fill one cup with water, and one cup with ice cubes, you’ll notice that the ice cubes have space in between them, while the water completely fills the entire container.

When using weight as a measurement for quantity, you will typically weigh a sample of the substance individually, then measure the entire group.  If you take the weight of the entire group and divide it by the weight of the individual sample piece, you can approximate how many total pieces there are.

Typically, when measuring the quantity of a liquid, you’re going to use volume.  Because a liquid will completely fill the container, you can fairly accurately determine the quantity of the liquid by the volume filled in the container.

For online calculators for volume or weight go to CalcuNATION.com.

Online Calculators for Weight Measurements

Online Calculators for Volume Measurements

Online Calculators for Volume and Area Measurements

CalcuNATION is a website featuring online calculators and educational resources for mathematics.  Other Mathematical Blogs ( CalcuNATION on EduBlogs and CalcuNATION on Blogger)

## Math Education is Difficult

Math education is a very challenging curriculum for teachers.  In general, many students have a tendency to avoid math.  Whether they think it is a tedious exercise, or fail to see the usefulness of mathematics in the real world, this stigma creates a barrier that math teachers have to cross to successfully reach students and influence them on how important math education really is.

## Math Education to Me

I know that when I was younger, math was a very dry, boring subject to me.  Other subjects offered some level of entertainment.  Reading and grammar had stories, geography taught about exciting places in the world and history had exciting characters.  Math pretty much had numbers and long, drawn out formulas to memorize.  Even now, it doesn’t seem too exciting.  Math education didn’t become important to me until I learned how to use it in the applications of science.

## Making Math Exciting

For the most part, students aren’t shown the actual uses of math at an early age.  Most young students are only taught the fundamentals of math.  I even think that can be tedious and boring.  I think that if students are not only educated on the fundamentals of math, but are immersed in the real world applications of math in a fun way, there would be more of an interest in math education at an early age.

In science and physics, I was able to apply math to understand how simple machines were designed.  This started to pique my interest in math and how it is applied in the real world.  Fast forward 20 years and that is now what I do for my “real life” job.  I use math every day to apply drive systems.  My day includes simple math like trying to calculate the hypotenuse of a triangle, or more applied math like torque for the track drive on a bulldozer, or calculating themechanical horsepower of a drive system.  I get to work on some pretty large and impressive machines.

My hat goes off to math teachers everywhere for trying to break down that math stigma barrier.

For more information on math education and online calculators, go to CalcuNATION.com.

CalcuNATION is a website featuring online calculators and educational resources for mathematics.  Other Mathematical Blogs ( CalcuNATION on EduBlogs and CalcuNATION on Blogger)

Posted in careers, math, mechanical | 3 Comments

## Electricians Use a Lot of Math. Shocking, I know.

Electricians may not be primarily known for their math skills.  You might be more likely to think about a guy running wires or cables through walls, taking apart outlets with screwdrivers, or walking around with their hair sticking straight up from a recent jolt.  But, in the real world, electricians are always using math to diagnose and create successful, useful and safe electrical connections and circuits.

Even if you aren’t aware of what electricians do, I’m sure you are aware of the potential dangers of electricity.  Using the correct equations to select wire size, or gauge, can be crucial to prevent dangerous conditions in a house.  How many times do you see a house fire on the news and the reason for the fire was determined to be faulty wiring?  Now, you might recognize the importance of correct wiring.

A wire transmits electricity in a similar way to a hose transmitting water.  If you try to push too much water through the hose under too much pressure, the hose might rupture.  A similar thing can happen to a wire.  If you try to put too much voltage and current through a wire, it will get hot and possible short out.  This is why many house fires are caused by wiring.  A wire shorts out and causes a spark.

Three of the basic properties electricians use in math formulas are voltage, current and resistance.  Voltage is like pressure in a hose, it is the force of the electricity.  Current is like the volume of water travelling through the hose, the flow.  This electrical flow is measured in amps.  Resistance is pretty much what it sounds like.  It is the resistance to flow in the wire.  Named for a wise guy a long time ago, resistance is measured in Ohm’s.

Electricians use many equations when diagnosing a circuit.  Sometimes they use Ohm’s law, sometimes they calculate the power of a circuit by deducing the watts.  And sometimes they are just trying to decide the correct gauge of wire to use.  Either way, they are always using math, and these are just the very basics to give you a taste of what they do.

For more on the math electricians use, try some of these online calculators:

Electrical Calculators

Electric Horsepower Calculator

Electric Resistance Calculator

CalcuNATION is a website featuring online calculators and educational resources for mathematics.  Other Mathematical Blogs ( CalcuNATION on EduBlogs and CalcuNATION on Blogger)