How to help with fractions

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When children experience difficulty in math it often begins when they are introduced to fractions. Before fractions, children have only known counting numbers and the one-to-one relationship between these numbers and the set of objects the number represents.

The difficulty can arise when the students need to think about rational numbers in a different way.

Imagine two children each with a cake.

Child one has the cake divided into six parts and child two’s is in three parts.

Thinking additively as he has always done, child two thinks child one has more cake; he doesn’t think of the cake as the unit.

Children need to learn to think differently in order to understand fractions.

Teaching fractions to your child

You can guide your child through the process of learning fractions. Use these tips to help answer questions they might have about fractions:

  • think about sharing equally
  • the numerator is the number of the top
  • the denominator is the number of the bottom (memory tip: d is for denominator, d is for down – at the bottom
  • Like with all math, experiencing the concept is the best for learning. Use objects and share them. Pizza is always popular.
  • Discuss fractions with your child whenever you come across a “real life” example. Sporting events, newspaper articles and hardware stores are all good sources.
  • Review the methods for adding, multiplying and dividing fractions yourself. You might just have forgotten some of the rules that you will need to know in order to help with fractions.

Fraction Lesson: Introducing Fractions

This short lesson introduces fractions and illustrates the use of numerators and denominators.

The above lesson includes audio (so remember to switch on your speakers). Use the play/ pause button if you need to stop and start the lesson.

Related Fractions Lessons

Lesson 1: Introducing Fractions Lesson 2: Equivalent Fractions Lesson 3: Common Denominators Lesson 4: Adding and Subtracting Fractions Lesson 5: Simplifying Fractions Lesson 6: Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions
Introducing Fractions Equivalent Fractions Common Denominators Adding and Subtracting Fractions Simplifying Fractions Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions

Fraction Cards

You can use the fraction cards below to help introduce fractions. Each card shows a fraction both with numbers and graphically.

Idea: Use the option on the documents below to turn the numbers and/ or the shading off and get your child to create his or her own fraction cards.

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