Monday, 26 December 2016

What are Equivalent Fractions?

There is a root word here to give a hint: Equi or equal. You know that a fraction has a top number (numerator) and a bottom number (denominator). If you multiply both of these by the same number, you will have an equivalent fraction! It is easy. You are just chopping up a fraction into smaller EQUAL parts:

That’s right, you multiply to get SMALLER parts.  That’s because the bigger the denominator is, the more parts there are, and they have to be smaller and smaller.

It is easier for most kids new to fractions to see equivalent fractions in charts or tables. Below is a basic equivalent fractions chart. Do you see that as the denominators get bigger, the pieces get smaller?

Another way to think about equivalent fractions is by looking at segments of circles:

Remember, you multiply the top (numerator) and bottom (denominator) by the same number to get smaller equal pieces:

And… you divide by the same number to get larger pieces:

Equivalent fractions activities for 4th grade and for 5th grade may require a quick recall of multiplication and division. Visuals as shown above and charts and tables can help as well as hands on activities with folding and cutting paper, and even domino games. Below is a handy equivalent fractions chart.

Note that the numbers across each row are equivalent to each other, because you are simply multiplying the numerators and denominators of the first fraction in column 1 by 1, then 2, then 3 and so on. Study this chart to see the patterns:

You can find a lot of activities and games online to teach equivalent fractions and other concepts in beginning fractions to help kids from year 6 through 5th grade.

The following video can provide further details about equivalent fractions:

For further information on this and other fractions concepts, visit: