Fraction Concepts

Fraction concepts are a vital skill for your child to master.  If understanding fractions is not fully accomplished - later math studies, such as probability, ratios, statistics, percentages and algebra (just to name a few) will prove extremely frustrating for your child.

When your student was learning whole numbers the important 'anchor' numbers first learned were 0, 5 and 10.

In fractions we have 'anchor' numbers also but they are different!  

Fraction Anchor Numbers

They are 0 , 1/2 and 1.  If a child can identify that 1/4 is greater than 0, but less than 1/2 - it will not be difficult for them to see that  1 and 1 /4 is greater than 1 but less than 1 and 1/2.

Students may not quickly grasp the terms 'equal size' or 'equal portion' but they definitely understand "fair share"!


When starting the journey of fractions I recommend simply using the terms 'top number' and 'bottom number'.  There is a lot of new stuff going on - we don't need to initially bombard kids with mathematical terms.  

The terms Numerator and Denominator will be introduced soon enough.

Parts of a Fraction

There are three parts to understanding the concept of a fraction.  Once your child understands them completely and with confidence, move on to adding fractions.  These three parts are ...

A Visual Representation of Three Sixths (3/6)

The Whole

The Whole can be 'one thing' or a whole 'group of things'.

The Denominator

The number bellow the line.  This tells us how many equal parts the whole is divided into.  As the number below the line in this case is 6, we know the 'Whole' was divided equally into six parts.

The Numerator

The number above the line.  This tells us how many of the equal parts we actually have.  We can see the shaded section (green) is three of the six original pieces, so we have Three of Six Equal Parts or 3/6.

It does not matter how long it takes for a student to understand the concepts of a fraction and its different parts.  If you move on to other fraction skills before they do, everything else will be a struggle.

Be sure to take advantage of our fraction concept worksheets found in our fraction worksheets section.  Please also, don't forget to print out some  fraction manipulatives. They certainly make understanding fractions easier.

Don't forget to browse around Printable Math Worksheets to check out all the great free math material available.

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