## Understanding Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions

A **mixed number** combines a whole number with a fraction, like 1 1/4. An **improper fraction** has a numerator larger than or equal to its denominator. To express a mixed number as an improper fraction, we need to understand how they represent the same value.

## Converting 1 1/4 to an Improper Fraction

**Multiply the whole number by the denominator:**1 x 4 = 4**Add the numerator:**4 + 1 = 5**Keep the same denominator:**5/4

Therefore, **1 1/4 is equivalent to 5/4**. This improper fraction represents the same quantity as the mixed number, but it is expressed as a single fraction with a numerator larger than the denominator.

## Why Use Improper Fractions?

While mixed numbers are easy to visualize, improper fractions are often used in calculations and simplifying expressions. For example, when multiplying or dividing fractions, it's easier to work with improper fractions. This is because improper fractions allow us to treat both the numerator and denominator as whole numbers.