Learning How to Do Fractions: Tips for Kids

When you first start learning about fractions, they can be confusing. Even after you've grasped fraction basics, skills like comparing fractions and finding equivalent fractions may be challenging. Keep reading for tips that can help you understand these concepts.

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Tips for Learning about Fractions

Use Concrete Objects

It often helps to use real objects, sometimes called manipulatives, to represent the fractions you're learning about. One way to do this is to empty out a bag of colored candy and divide it into groups by color. Then, you can write fractions to represent each color.

The denominator (bottom number) for each fraction will be the total number of pieces that are in the bag. The numerators (top numbers) will be the number of pieces in each color group. For example, if you have a total of 23 pieces of candy, which includes seven green pieces and nine pink pieces, the fractions for these colors will be 7/23 and 9/23, respectively.

You can also extend this activity to teach yourself about comparing fractions. Imagine that you come up with the following fractions to represent your candy colors:

Green: 7/23

Purple: 3/23

Pink: 9/23

Blue: 4/23

You can put these fractions in order from least to greatest. Since they all have a common denominator, you can use their numerators to order them. Three is the smallest numerator, so 3/23 is the smallest fraction. Next would be 4/23, followed by 7/23 and 9/23.

Create a Number Line

Another way to visualize fractions is to create a number line. Mark the left side of a piece of paper with a 'zero,' and mark the right side with a 'one.' Then, divide the space in between these marks into even intervals. You can create any number of intervals that you like, but numbers such as eight, ten or 12 are good ones to start with.

The next step is to label each interval with the fraction that it represents. For example, if you've divided your line into ten intervals, the first mark after zero will be labeled '1/10.' The second mark will be '2/10,' and so on. The last mark before the 'one' should be '9/10.'

You can also use this activity to learn about equivalent fractions. This term refers to fractions that are equal, even though they have different numerators and denominators. Divide the total number of intervals on your number line by two, and label every second mark with a new fraction.

For instance, since our number line had ten intervals, and 10 ÷ 2 = 5, we can add the fractions 1/5, 2/5, 3/5 and 4/5. The fraction 1/5 would go on the second mark to the right of zero, which is already labeled '2/10,' and 2/5 would go on the fourth mark, which is already labeled '4/10.' When two fractions can label the same mark, this means they're equivalent.

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