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.
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.
Other Articles You May Be Interested In

Numerous studies show the ill effects that being obese or overweight have on health. So if you're near the bottom of the 'mostobese states' list, it's likely time to do something about it. When Tennessee found itself in that spot, it began its fight to shed pounds with the formation of the Tennessee Obesity Task Force. Are the...

Summer is a time for soaking up the sun, swimming, playing games...and learning? It can, and maybe should, be. Just because your kids are off from schools doesn't mean they need to turn their brains off. There are several things you can do to make sure your child has a productive and mentally stimulating summer. Following are...
We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In
Huntington Learning
 What Huntington Learning offers:
 Online and incenter tutoring
 One on one tutoring
 Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
K12
 What K12 offers:
 Online tutoring
 Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
 AdvancEDaccredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Kaplan Kids
 What Kaplan Kids offers:
 Online tutoring
 Customized learning plans
 RealTime Progress Reports track your child's progress
Kumon
 What Kumon offers:
 Incenter tutoring
 Individualized programs for your child
 Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
Sylvan Learning
 What Sylvan Learning offers:
 Online and incenter tutoring
 Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
 Regular assessment and progress reports
Tutor Doctor
 What Tutor Doctor offers:
 InHome tutoring
 One on one attention by the tutor
 Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
TutorVista
 What TutorVista offers:
 Online tutoring
 Student works oneonone with a professional tutor
 Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations