We know that
But, can we write 12 as the product of just prime numbers?
Well, 3 is a prime number, but 4 isn't.
Can we break 4 into a product of primes?
When we write a number as the product of primes, it's called a prime factorization.
Smaller numbers are pretty easy to do... You just start with your times tables numbers ( like I did with 12 ):
Find the prime factorization of 18:
From our times tables
3 is prime, but we need to break the 6 up!
It's polite to put the factors in order from least to greatest:
Here it is with exponents: