Subtracting Fractions

Subtracting fractions is done by an identical process to adding fractions until the final step of subtraction.

Before continuing, ensure your child understands the concept of subtraction and that they are confident in subtracting whole numbers.

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Subtraction - A Quick Review

Subtraction is simply the removal of one set of objects from another set, resulting in a new total.

2 - 1 = 1

Two whole numbers minus one whole number equals one whole number

Two apples minus One apple equals One apple

Two apples minus One banana equals Two apples minus One banana equals?

This cannot be done as you cannot subtract different objects.  Read on to see how you would deal with this problem.

In my section on adding fractions, I discussed the different ways to verbalize a fraction, and concluded that the only way a student should be referring to fractions now, is by exactly what they are.

1/2 is "One Half"; 1/4 is "One Quarter" 9/8 is "Nine Eights".  

The reason for this is so that when they see a problem like:

They will say " three halves minus one half equals two halves (as they know 3 - 2=1) and when they see a problem like:

They will say " one half minus one third equalls ... oops - can't add apples and bananas ... we have to find equivalent fractions, by finding the common denominator!"

I have created a separate section devoted to finding the common denominator, but for now, here is the math fact that works for all fractions, all the time.

Don't forget to practice!  You can find lot's of subtracting fractions worksheets or other types at our printable fraction worksheets section.

Move from subtracting fractions  to printable math worksheets home page.

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