Fraction Help for Kids: Homework Tips and Tricks

Learning about fractions is a big part of elementary school math, and it can be a challenge. Read this article for some tips that can help you succeed.

Find available tutors

Tips for Working with Fractions

Understand the Parts of a Fraction

Students often make mistakes with fraction problems because they confuse the numerator and the denominator. The numerator is the number on top, and the denominator is the number on the bottom of the fraction. To keep these two names straight, remember that 'denominator' and 'down' both start with the letter 'd.'

Pay Attention to Denominators

It's easy to forget the rules for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions. You can only add and subtract fractions that have common denominators, like 1/4 and 3/4. However, you can multiply or divide any fraction by any other fraction, even if their denominators are different. For example, it would be fine to multiply 2/5 and 3/7. It helps to remember that you can only add or subtract numerators; these operations should not be performed on denominators.

Use the Reciprocal

Many students are confused by the process for dividing fractions because it doesn't actually involve division. To divide two fractions, you actually multiply the first fraction by the reciprocal of the second one.

A reciprocal is just a fraction with its numerator and denominator reversed. For example, the reciprocal of 1/5 is 5/1, and the reciprocal of 7/8 is 8/7. If you're dividing 1/2 by 1/4, you would actually multiply 1/2 by the reciprocal of 1/4, which is 4/1. It looks like this:

1/2 ÷ 1/4 = 1/2 x 4/1 = 4/2 = 2

Reduce Your Answer

It's also common for students to forget to simplify their answers. For instance, the answer to a problem might be 2/8, but some teachers will take off points if it is not fully reduced to 1/4.

To be sure that your answer is fully reduced, list out the factors of both the numerator and the denominator. (A number's factors are all of the numbers that it's divisible by.) If the numerator and denominator have any common factors, then divide them both by the largest one to get the reduced fraction. If they don't have any common factors, then the fraction is fully reduced.

For example, here is how you'd check to see if 6/12 is fully reduced. First, list the factors of six, which are one, two, three and six. The factors of 12 are one, two, three, four, six and 12. The largest common factor on these lists is six, so you can divide the numerator (six) and the denominator (12) by six. Since 6 ÷ 6 = 1 and 12 ÷ 6 = 2, the reduced fraction is 1/2.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Is Lack of Sleep Affecting Your Child's Performance in School?

    If your child is complaining that he or she is tired each school morning, take heed: chances are good they're telling the truth. The fact is, a large percentage of American schoolchildren simply do not get the required amount of sleep they need to function properly. As one might expect, lack of sleep can be a major factor in how...

  • More Blog Articles
    Doing More with Less: Rural Schools and Student Health

    Students in rural, sparsely populated areas struggle with the same health problems that their urban and suburban peers face, such as obesity and substance abuse. Yet without the same access to resources, rural schools are forced to get creative.

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online

K12

  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only

Kumon

  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only

TutorVista

  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth