If you’ve studied fractions, you should know that anything divided by zero is impossible. You just can’t do it. Try it on a calculator, it says ERR and you don’t get an answer. Try it on paper, and it doesn’t make sense.

### One way to do it

Let’s look at a generic fraction like 1/2 . No zero in the denominator here. We have a 1 for the numerator, and a 2 in the denominator. What does the fraction mean, really? Take a circle. A circle equals 1.

Now split it into two equal parts.

Now, the denominator tells us how many pieces to slice the circle into. In this case, 1/2, we cut it into two pieces. The numerator is how many parts we take, but since we’re looking at the zero in the denominator, we’ll ignore that.

Ok. Basic stuff over. Now, let’s split the circle into fourths, aka 1/4.

This is all fine and dandy, but let’s try 1/0. What we need to do is split the circle into zero pieces. Using however many cuts we want, we need to take 1 and chop it up into 0.

It doesn’t work. There’s no way to take a whole and turn it into nothing, unless you’re a magician, and math doesn’t allow magic.

### Another way to do it

Division is the opposite of multiplication. Look at 6÷3. This means, basically, what number can you multiply 3 by to get 6? 3×?=6. The answer, of course, is 2. Now, let’s look at multiplication. 3×2 is the same as 2+2+2 or 3+3.

Go back to division. Try 5÷0. This means *what number can you multiply 0 by to get 5? *I’m going to add up a bunch of zeros, and you tell me when the answer equals 5.

0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0…

It’s impossible.

Comments on:"Why Anything ÷ Zero Is Impossible" (6)Math Teachers at Play # 39 « Let's Play Math!said:[…] Climbing Gecko explains in two different ways Why Anything ÷ Zero Is Impossible. […]

Principalsaid:Sounds cool. That’s a good way to explain it!

Signed,

your principal

Jennifersaid:Good explanation

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Johnsaid:Zero does not exist by definition so why would you use it? The 1/0 mystery is resolved by simply not allowing 0. It shouldn’t be in Maths at all.