What Is a Factor Pair?

This ruler has a built-in multiplication table.
••• ruler with multiplication table image by Stepanov from Fotolia.com

The ability to find the factor pairs is a useful math skill usually taught to students as an introduction to algebra. The process is fairly simple and the student needs only a basic understanding of multiplication.

Natural numbers

These are all natural numbers since there are no decimals or fractions.
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A natural number is any whole number that is not zero. This means that any number from one to infinity is a natural number, if it doesn't have a decimal point or fraction associated with it. For example, 28 is a natural number, but 28.5 is not.

Multiplication

Most students learn multiplication by studying multiplication tables. When two or more numbers are multiplied together, the result is called the product. For instance, in the equation: 2 x 3 = 6, the product is 6.

Factor

Factors are numbers that are multiplied together to obtain a product. The product of 5 x 6 = 30. The numbers 5 and 6 are factors.

Factor Pairs

All natural numbers are the product of at least one factor pair. For instance, 17 has one factor pair: 1 and 17. The number 28 has several factor pairs: 1 and 28; 2 and 12; and 4 and 7. Any two natural numbers that can be multiplied to obtain a specific product is known as a factor pair.

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