Equivalent Fractions for 4th Grade Students

Students beginning 4th grade should know what equivalent fractions are. They understand that these fractions represent the same portion of an entity and will go to the same point on a number line. They're also able to generate fractions equivalent to a given fraction. In 4th grade, comparing fractions is studied in more detail, as well as how to add and subtract them.

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Equivalent Fraction Concepts in 4th Grade.


Over a summer, at least some students (maybe most) will have forgotten much of the math they learned in 3rd grade and will need to review. This includes:

  1. Knowing what equivalent fractions are. In addition, if fractions are not equivalent, one of them is greater than (>) the other.
  2. Knowing how to write whole numbers as fractions. For example, 6/1 is how you write the whole number six as a fraction. When the numerator and denominator of a fraction is the same (e.g., 6/6), it always equals one.
  3. Demonstrating an equivalent fraction in several ways (e.g., using lines, bars and circles).
  4. Recognizing simple equivalent fractions, such as 1/2 = 2/4, 2/3 = 4/6 and 3/4 = 6/8.
  5. Generating simple equivalent fractions using skip counting, multiplication and division.

4th Grade Concepts

New Wording for Old Material

Some of the new information in 4th grade is simply a rewording of what was already learned in 3rd grade. For example, students know how to produce simple equivalent fractions by multiplying the numerator and denominator by the same number. Now, in 4th grade, they learn how to translate this to the general equation a/b = (a x n)/(b x n).

Using Equivalent Fractions in Mixed-Number Addition or Subtraction

In this year, 4th graders learn how to add and subtract mixed numbers when the fractions have the same denominator. Sometimes this involves changing a mixed number to an equivalent fraction.

Thus, if they see a problem such as 2 1/2 - 3/4 = ?, they learn to first give the fractions the same denominator. This can be done by changing 1/2 to 2/4. Since 3/4 is larger than 2/4, they learn that the 2 2/4 must be changed to an improper fraction: 10/4. Finally, they can solve the problem by subtracting one numerator from the other (10/4 - 3/4 = 7/4).

Finding Equivalent Fractions with a Denominator of 100

When a fraction has a denominator of ten, use the same rule used for finding equivalent fractions. Multiply both the numerator and denominator by ten (add a zero at the end of each), so the denominator of the equivalent fraction is 100. For instance, 4/10 is the same as 40/100. This is a first step in learning to translate fractions to decimals.

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