How to Add Fractions at the 4th Grade Level

In 4th grade, you'll learn to perform lots of operations with fractions, including addition. If you're looking for help with adding fractions, read on!

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How to Add Fractions in 4th Grade

If you're in 4th grade, you probably already know that a fraction represents a portion of a whole. Now, you'll learn to add together fractions that come from the same whole, and you'll even solve word problems that ask you to do this. Since you're adding together fractions that come from a single whole, like slices of a pizza or pieces of a cake, this means that they'll have the same or 'like' denominator (bottom number). Here's how you add proper fractions with like denominators:

  1. To get the numerator (top number) of your answer, add together the numerators of each fraction. For instance, if your problem is 1/7 + 3/7, you would add together 1 + 3 to get four as your numerator.
  2. The denominator of your answer is the same as the denominator of the fractions you're adding. For 1/7 and 3/7, the denominator is seven.
  3. Put your numerator and denominator together to get your answer. In this case, 1/7 + 3/7 = 4/7.

Combining Mixed Numbers

After you've learned to add proper fractions, the next step is to practice adding mixed numbers. Remember that mixed numbers, like 4 3/5, combine a whole number with a proper fraction. When two mixed numbers have the same denominators you can follow these steps to add them:

  1. Add the whole numbers together first. For example, if you're adding together 4 3/5 and 2 1/5, you'd add together four and two to get six (4 + 2 = 6).
  2. Add together the fractions, following the steps explained earlier. In this case, 3/5 + 1/5 = 4/5.
  3. Combine the whole number with the fraction to get your final answer. In this example problem, 4 3/5 + 2 1/5 = 6 4/5.

Word Problems with Fractions

You'll also learn to solve word problems that ask you to add fractions, like this one:

Samantha brought 15 cookies to her friend's birthday party. Jamie ate four cookies, and Ellen ate seven. How many of Samantha's cookies did Jamie and Ellen eat altogether?

To solve a problem like this, follow these steps:

  1. Write your fractions. Since there are 15 cookies total, and Jamie ate four of them, she ate 4/15 of the cookies. Ellen ate 7/15 of them.
  2. Take the numerators of the fractions and add them. Since 4 + 7 = 11, the numerator of the answer is 11.
  3. Make sure the denominator stays the same in the answer. As a result, the denominator will still be 15, and the answer will be 11/15.
  4. Express your answer in the context of the problem. Here, we can say that Jamie and Ellen ate 11/15 of the cookies altogether.
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