# Finding the Greatest Common Factor of 24 and 36

As a student, one of the most fundamental concepts that you may have encountered in mathematics is the concept of factors. A factor is simply a number that divides another number without leaving any remainder. For instance, 3 and 4 are factors of 12 since 3×4=12. In mathematics, it is essential to master the concept of finding factors of numbers with the purpose of solving different types of problems. The greatest common factor (GCF) is one such problem where you need to find the largest number that divides two or more other numbers without leaving any remainder. In this article, we will focus specifically on finding the greatest common factor of 24 and 36.

Before we dive into the details of finding the GCF of 24 and 36, let us first understand what this concept means. The greatest common factor of two numbers is the largest number that divides both of them. For example, the GCF of 24 and 36 is 12, since 12 is the largest number that divides both 24 and 36 without leaving any remainder. Another example would be the GCF of 16 and 24, which is 8, since 8 is the largest number that divides both 16 and 24 without leaving any remainder.

Now that we know what GCF is, let us move on to finding the GCF of 24 and 36. There are several methods to approach this problem, and we will explore some of them in detail.

Method 1: Listing Factors

The first method to find the GCF of 24 and 36 is by listing the factors of each number and finding the biggest factor that they have in common. Let us first list the factors of 24 and 36.

Factors of 24: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24
Factors of 36: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, 36

From the list above, we can see that the biggest factor that these two numbers have in common is 12. Hence, the GCF of 24 and 36 is 12.

Method 2: Prime Factorization

The second method to find the GCF of 24 and 36 is by using prime factorization. This method involves breaking down each number into its prime factors and then finding the common factors. Let us first find the prime factors of 24 and 36.

Prime factors of 24: 2 x 2 x 2 x 3
Prime factors of 36: 2 x 2 x 3 x 3

From the lists above, we can see that the common prime factors of 24 and 36 are 2 and 3. To find the GCF, we simply multiply the common factors, which gives us 2 x 2 x 3 = 12. Thus, the GCF of 24 and 36 is 12.

Method 3: Euclidean Algorithm

The third method to find the GCF of 24 and 36 is by using the Euclidean Algorithm. This algorithm involves dividing the larger number by the smaller number and then finding the GCF of the remainder and the smaller number. We repeat this process until we get a remainder of zero. Let us follow the steps below to find the GCF of 24 and 36 using the Euclidean Algorithm.

Step 1: Divide the larger number by the smaller number. In this case, 36 ÷ 24 = 1 with a remainder of 12.
Step 2: Find the GCF of the remainder (12) and the smaller number (24). We can use either of the methods above to find this. From the above methods, we know that the GCF of 12 and 24 is 12.
Step 3: Repeat the process by dividing the smaller number (24) by the remainder (12). In this case, 24 ÷ 12 = 2 with a remainder of 0.

Since we have gotten a remainder of zero, we can stop. The GCF of 24 and 36 is the last non-zero remainder we obtained, which is 12.

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the greatest common factor (GCF) of two numbers is a fundamental concept in mathematics that students need to master. There are several methods that we can use to find the GCF, including listing factors, prime factorization, and the Euclidean Algorithm. We have explored all three methods to find the GCF of 24 and 36, and in each case, we have found that the GCF of 24 and 36 is 12. By mastering these techniques, students can solve other GCF problems with ease and confidence.