I am writing this blog because my son has been frustrated between simplifying fractions and comparing fractions with uncommon denominators.

What is a **fraction**?

Answer: A fraction is a number that names part of a whole or group.

- Money (the real kind) and candy (especially after Halloween) are great manipulatives for teaching fractions
- Coolmath4kids.com: What are Fractions?
- Dr. Mike’s Math Games for Kids: Fraction Dominoes
- Kids Online Resources: Fraction Tutorial

What is a **numerator**?

Answer: A numerator is the top number in a fraction: (for example: **1**/2)

What is a **denominator**?

Answer: A denominator is the bottom number in a fraction (for example: 1/**2**).

- I remember denominator because downstairs and denominator both begin with the letter “d”.

How do you ** add fractions with common denominators**?

Answer: Just add the numerators and the denominators stay the same! (for example: 3/**6 **+ 2/**6 **= 5/**6**)

- Coolmath.com: Adding Fractions with Like Denominators
- AAA Math: Adding Fractions with the Same Denominator

How do you ** subtract fractions with common denominators**?

Answer: Just subtract the numerators and the denominators stay the same! (for example: 3/**6 **- 2/**6 **= 1/**6**)

How do you ** add or subtract fractions with uncommon denominators**? (for example: 2/

Answer: Before you can add or subtract fractions with uncommon denominators, you first have to change the fractions so that all fractions being added or subtracted have the same denominator. This can be a little tricky. The Web sites below are awesome:

- Coolmath.com: Adding & Subtracting Fractions When the Denominators are Different
- FunBrain.com: Soccer Shootout – Fraction Addition
- FunBrain.com: Soccer Shootout – Fraction Subtraction

How do you ** compare fractions**?

Answer: Comparing fractions can be tricky. Check out the Web sites below for great examples and explanations:

- Coolmath.com: Which Fraction is Greater? (Part 1)
- Coolmath.com: Which Fraction is Greater? (Part 2)
- AAA Math: Comparing Unlike Fractions

How do you ** simplify or reduce fractions**?

Answer: A simplest form of a fraction is a fraction where the only common factor of the numerator and the denominator is 1.

- I like to explain to children that numerators and denominators are like sisters and brothersâ€”they need to be treated “the same”. Whatever you give to one, you must give the exact same to the other or “it wouldn’t be fair”.
- For example, if you divide the numerator by 3, then you must divide the denominator by 3. If you don’t treat the numerators and denominators the same when reducing them, it would be like giving one sister two cookies and the other sister one cookie. It just would not be fair.
- The Web site below gives great explanations and examples of how to reduce or simplify fractions:

How do you ** multiply fractions**?

Answer: Just multiply the numerators and denominators of the fractions and reduce the answer to its simplest form if needed.

How do you ** divide fractions**?

Answer: Just multiply the numerators and denominators AFTER flipping the second fraction and then reduce to simplest form if needed.

What are ** equivalent fractions**?

Answer: Equivalent fractions are fractions that represent the same number (for example: 1/4 = 3/12).

What are ** mixed numbers**?

Answer: A mixed number is a number that combines whole number and a fraction (for example: 2 5/6).

- Coolmath.com: Fractions – Mixed Numbers
- Coolmath.com: Fractions – Dividing Fractions with Whole and Mixed Numbers

What are ** improper fractions**?

Answer: An improper fraction is when the numerator is bigger than the denominator; making the number larger than one (for example: 12/3).

No wonder children are confused when it comes to fractions; you get them mixed, have to simplify them, reduce them, and add, subtract, multiply, and divide them…and that’s only the beginning. Yikes!!!!

I’ll cover how to change fractions into decimals and percentages in another blog.

I hope this information helps the children you are teaching as it has for my son.

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22 January 2009, 1:55 pm

I love your web!

18 February 2009, 7:03 am

Great teaching my daughter her fractions

24 February 2009, 4:14 pm

this is a great website helper thankyou

24 March 2009, 5:01 pm

This website has helped my babysister a whole bunch

12 June 2009, 10:21 am

This web site was enjoyable to play while timing my self at the same time.

25 January 2010, 6:21 pm

Thank you so much for the information on comparing unlke fractions – it is so hard for me to try to scale back and explain this fundamentally to my 4th grader. This makes it crystal clear! Awesome

02 February 2010, 9:29 pm

Thank you very much, I was going crazy trying to teach son how to simplify a fraction.

23 February 2010, 1:28 pm

Thank you very much for this great info; it’s simple, clear and help me a lot

16 May 2010, 11:34 am

this website is awesome! it taught me everything i know.

15 September 2010, 8:14 pm

Hey –

This helped me so much with studying with my flashcards for school. Thanks so much!

09 May 2011, 11:28 am

Great site. Helped me a lot while teaching my daughter. Thanks

25 July 2011, 2:32 am

Thank you I freaked when my maths teacher said we were studying fractions. I copied this down into the back of my book and it really helps. No offence to my teacher but he never really helped or explained things in a way I understood like this site has :) ta

31 July 2011, 2:35 pm

I am a 31 year old college student, who when asked by my younger brother if I would help him preparing for the Math section of the GED, thought it would be a breeze. I found it had been such a long time ago that I learned fractions, that I had no clue where to even start from. Your site has made it possibe to teach him what he needs to know to pass this test. Thank you.

25 September 2011, 11:18 am

Thank you for making a great site. It was very easy for me to teach fractions to my daughter. And she understood it very well.

08 February 2012, 11:12 pm

Now I can easily get my finest marks in maths paper,and thank you to make this website.

01 March 2012, 3:58 pm

Thank you! This is a very helpful summary.

02 March 2012, 10:05 am

My son is struggling a bit with fractions and I just found your site which might help him to understand Equivalent Fractions and ordering fractions a little better. I will show it to him this afternoon. Thank you so much. I really think you have a great site.

24 May 2012, 5:08 pm

This is great. Thank you so much for putting this together! I’m tutoring a friend’s kid in math, and she’s been having a lot of frustration with this stuff, so I’ve been looking for approaches that are more digestible than how her math book covers it. This has been a big help.

27 July 2012, 3:34 am

This website is awesome! :D

27 January 2013, 6:08 am

Great help to the beginners. Precise and simple examples to easily recall. thank you

18 March 2013, 1:52 pm

At the time, my son was having trouble understanding fractions, decimals, and all the details associated with them. Glad it helped you!

19 March 2013, 2:37 pm

thank’s for a smart summary

17 April 2013, 7:55 am

Thank you. That was very helpful

15 June 2013, 5:00 am

Thankyou, at least now I can explain it to my daughter!

Very helpful

08 August 2013, 3:56 am

Thanks a ton for explaining this in detail. Now I can use it while teaching my child. It is really simple to understand. Appreciate all your efforts.

16 August 2013, 6:21 pm

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17 August 2013, 11:35 am

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17 August 2013, 11:36 am

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22 November 2013, 11:41 am

I’m recapping before I go in for placement testing, and every site I found was a mess! This is the first direct guide that explains everything simply.

THANK YOU!

17 December 2013, 3:14 pm

This was very helpful – thanks a lot