Factor Pairs – Definition with Examples

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    Welcome to another adventurous journey into the thrilling universe of numbers on the Brighterly platform. Our mission today? To navigate the intriguing world of factor pairs. Here at Brighterly, we believe that every child has the potential to become a champion mathematician, and through our engaging and easy-to-understand posts, we aim to make the learning process not just enlightening, but also entertaining. Today, we’re opening the gateway to a crucial mathematical concept that you’ll often encounter, whether it’s in your homework, school tests, or even in daily life scenarios. Yes, we’re talking about factor pairs. Picture a treasure box. When unlocked, it reveals jewels. Similarly, every number is like a treasure box, and the factor pairs are the precious gems it holds. Excited? Let’s open the treasure box together and see what we find!

    What are Factor Pairs?

    The term factor pairs might sound a bit complicated, but it is actually an exciting and important concept in math. So, what are they? Well, imagine you have a number, let’s say 12. Now, can you think of two numbers that, when multiplied together, give you 12? You might be thinking of 6 and 2, or 3 and 4. Well, those are exactly what we call factor pairs! In simpler terms, a factor pair is a set of two numbers that, when multiplied together, give you the original number. In the case of 12, we can say that (6, 2) and (3, 4) are its factor pairs. Remember that every number has at least one factor pair, which is the number itself and 1.

    How do we Obtain Factor Pairs?

    The question now arises, how do we get these factor pairs? There’s a systematic way to do it. Let’s stick with our previous example of 12. Start with the number 1. Does 1 multiply with any number to give 12? Yes, with 12 itself. So, (1, 12) is the first factor pair. Then move to the next number, 2. Does 2 multiply with any number to give 12? Yes, with 6. So, (2, 6) is another factor pair. Continue this process until you reach a point where you are repeating pairs. This means you’ve found all the factor pairs. So, the factor pairs of 12 are (1, 12), (2, 6), and (3, 4). This technique is a straightforward and organized way of finding factor pairs, making it an important mathematical skill.

    Factor Pairs of Integers

    Now that we know how to find the factor pairs of a number, let’s explore this concept further with integers. Remember, integers include both positive and negative numbers, along with zero. When dealing with positive integers, the factor pairs are all positive, just like we saw with the number 12. But what about negative integers? Interestingly, negative integers have both positive and negative factor pairs. For instance, consider -12. Its factor pairs include both (-1, 12), (-2, 6), (-3, 4), and their positive counterparts. This is because the multiplication of two negative numbers gives a positive result, which allows for both positive and negative factor pairs.

    Factor Pairs of Fractions

    Hold on tight as we navigate towards fractions. The factor pairs concept extends to fractions too. Let’s take an example of the fraction 1/2. Can we find two fractions that multiply to give 1/2? Sure, we can. For instance, 1/4 and 2/1 (or 2) are a factor pair of 1/2 because their product equals 1/2. Keep in mind, just like integers, fractions can also have multiple factor pairs. The same systematic approach used for integers applies here.

    Factor Pairs of Decimal Numbers

    Yes, you guessed it right. Factor pairs are not just confined to integers and fractions, but they can also be determined for decimal numbers. Let’s consider the decimal number 0.5. Its factor pairs could include (0.5, 1), (0.25, 2), and so forth. Determining factor pairs for decimal numbers follows the same fundamental principles as integers and fractions.

    Factor Pairs of Algebraic Expressions

    Another interesting and slightly more complex application of factor pairs is in the realm of algebraic expressions. Just as we find factor pairs for numbers, we can also find factor pairs for expressions. For example, consider the expression x^2. Its factor pairs would include (x, x) because x multiplied by x equals x^2. The concept remains the same; we’re simply applying it to expressions instead of numbers.

    Solved Examples on Factor Pairs

    After an engaging journey through the concept of factor pairs and their applications across different types of numbers and expressions, it’s time to delve deeper into some practical examples. Here at Brighterly, we believe that understanding the theory is just the first step, applying it to solve problems is where the real learning happens.

    Example 1: Let’s find the factor pairs of the number 18. Start with the number 1. 1 and 18 multiply to give 18, so that’s our first factor pair (1, 18). Now move to 2. 2 and 9 multiply to give 18, giving us another factor pair (2, 9). The number 3 multiplies with 6 to give 18, hence another factor pair (3, 6). If we continue, we’ll start getting repeated pairs, which means we’ve found all the factor pairs for 18. Hence, the factor pairs of 18 are (1, 18), (2, 9), and (3, 6).

    Example 2: Now let’s find the factor pairs for a negative integer, say -20. Remember, for negative numbers, we will have both positive and negative factor pairs. Starting from 1, we get (1, -20) and (-1, 20) as the first pair. Similarly, moving to 2, we get (2, -10) and (-2, 10). The pairs (4, -5) and (-4, 5) complete the set of factor pairs for -20.

    Example 3: Moving on to fractions, let’s find the factor pairs for 3/4. Considering that (1/2, 3/2) and (2/3, 9/4) are pairs whose product is 3/4, we can say that they are the factor pairs for the fraction.

    These examples give us a solid understanding of how to determine factor pairs for various types of numbers.

    Practice Problems on Factor Pairs

    Having seen the solved examples, it’s time for you to solve some problems on your own. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the same holds true for mastering the concept of factor pairs. Here are a few problems for you to tackle:

    1. Find the factor pairs of 24.
    2. Find the factor pairs of -15.
    3. Find the factor pairs for the fraction 2/3.
    4. Determine the factor pairs for the decimal number 0.6.
    5. Find the factor pairs for the algebraic expression x^2.

    Try to solve these problems on your own. Remember, the systematic approach is the key to finding factor pairs.


    So there we are, journey’s end. But as with every expedition in the Brighterly universe, the end of one journey is but the beginning of another. Through this voyage, we’ve unfurled the mystery behind factor pairs, explored their myriad manifestations in integers, fractions, decimal numbers, and even algebraic expressions. We’ve empowered ourselves with the ability to find factor pairs, an essential skill that we’ll frequently employ as we navigate through more complex mathematical terrains. And as always, our journey was filled with examples and exercises that allowed us to test our understanding and hone our skills. In the universe of mathematics, every concept, every theorem, every equation is a stepping stone to something more fascinating. Factor pairs are one such cornerstone that has undoubtedly broadened our mathematical perspective. As you continue your explorations on Brighterly, remember to look back at these concepts and see how they interconnect, weaving the beautiful tapestry that is mathematics.

    Frequently Asked Questions on Factor Pairs

    Can zero have factor pairs? 

    Zero is a unique number. Technically, every number is a factor of zero because any number multiplied by zero equals zero. However, it doesn’t have a pair like other numbers, because zero times any number always gives zero.

    Do all numbers have the same number of factor pairs?

    No, different numbers can have different numbers of factor pairs. The number of factor pairs depends on the number itself. For example, the number 6 has three factor pairs, while the number 12 has six factor pairs. The number of factors and therefore factor pairs increases with the complexity and size of the number.

    Why are factor pairs important?

    Factor pairs are fundamental in mathematics. They play a key role in a multitude of mathematical operations and concepts, such as simplifying fractions, finding common multiples, factoring expressions in algebra, and much more. Understanding factor pairs can help enhance your overall mathematical abilities.

    Information Sources:

    To ensure accuracy and credibility, this post is compiled from the following esteemed educational and governmental resources:

    1. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
    2. Wikipedia – Factorization
    3. BBC Bitesize Maths

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