Word Problems Involving Fractions

Students usually start learning fractions in third grade and continue studying them through middle school. Fraction word problems are a good way for students to apply their fraction skills on real-world situations. Read on for advice about writing your own sample problems.

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Tips for Writing Fraction Story Problems

The first thing to consider when writing your own problems is how to incorporate visual aids. Especially when your child is just beginning to learn about fractions, drawings or 3-dimensional objects can enhance understanding. For example, draw a picture of a pie or use measuring cups. If your child can physically interact with portions, it will be easier for him or her to see that 1/2 is larger than 1/3.

There are a variety of levels of difficulty when it comes to fractions because they're studied over multiple years. If your child is in third grade, keep the denominator (bottom number of a fraction) the same in your problems because third graders are just beginning to learn about equivalent fractions. Your third grader is becoming familiar with unit fractions with the numerator of 1, including 1/3, 1/4 and 1/2. By the time your child is in fifth grade, you can introduce more challenging problems that involve multiplying and dividing fractions. Remember that, while you want to challenge your child, you don't want to overwhelm and discourage him or her with problems that are too difficult.

Sample Problems by Concept


1. In Sally's bouquet, 5/10 of the flowers are pink. Suzie also has a bouquet and 7/10 of the flowers are pink. Who has more pink flowers?

2. Meg has a pie with 4 out of the 8 original pieces left. Brian has a pie with 3 out of the 8 original pieces left. Who has more pie?

Addition and Subtraction

1. A recipe calls for 3/4 of a cup of walnuts and a 1/4 cup of almonds. How many cups of nuts are needed in all?

2. In the morning, Bill drinks 2/8 of a cup of orange juice and 7/8 of a cup of milk. How many cups does he drink in total?

3. You have a candy bar with 6 pieces of chocolate. If you give 2 pieces to your friend and eat 1 yourself, what fraction of the original candy bar is left?

Multiplication and Division

1. Your grandma's chocolate chip cookie recipe requires 3/4 of a cup of flour. If you're making a double recipe, how much flour should be used?

2. In the school band, 3/5 of the students play horns. If there are 70 students in the band, how many students play horns?

3. A dress requires 6/8 of a yard of fabric to make. How many dresses can be made from 52 yards?

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