A Quick & Easy Fraction Plan

For some reason, fractions seem to have a reputation for being a lot harder to learn (and teach) than they really are.  They can actually be fun and simple to master, as long as you have a simple plan for teaching them.  Here’s a strategy you could use:

  1. First, remember that the right time to start teaching fractions is right after the children have a good understanding of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  Then begin with very basic, simple fractions for each operation.
  1. We suggest using colored pencils for fractions, with one color consistently used for the top number, or numerator, and a different one for the bottom one, or denominator.  To train your class to recognize the numerator or denominator by your designated color, write some fractions on the board, and have the kids come up and change either the numerator or denominator to the right color.
  1. Ask each child to fold in half a piece of paper. Then fold this folded sheet of paper in half again. Use the squares to talk about the blank___ to mean one out of four and the blank___ to mean one out of two.  Have them color to show first one fourth, and then one half, and then…
  1. Gradually, you’ll begin working toward teaching the kids how each of the four operations is done with fractions.  For instance, with addition and subtraction, you add or subtract the top number but leave the bottom number the same.  With multiplication, you multiply the two top numbers and then the two bottom numbers.  Then with division, you flip upside down the second fraction and multiply.
  1. One of the best ways to help elementary age students remember fraction concepts is to teach it in terms of money, so either keep lots of change and dollar bills on hand, or perhaps cut out some fake coins and bills.  You’ll find that many kids have an almost immediate recognition of how much a “half” dollar is.  Also, as soon as you tell them that a “quarter” is another word for a “fourth,” it will be easy for them to grasp that in terms of money, a quarter is one-fourth of a dollar.

With these few simple tips, not only will fractions not be a chore to learn, but also you’ll find that most children actually enjoy the lessons!

For a refresher game on adding, subtracting, and low integer multiplication and division, we have Hex-a-Race!:


After the refresher, we have for equivalent fractions these ones:




Comments (5)

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  1. Jason Barnhard says:

    this is very useful information to use, as a future elementary teacher. you ca never learn too many tips and tricks to get kids interested in their learning. thanks for the shared ideas.

  2. Rob says:

    Thank you Jason. Kudos to your becoming an elementary teacher!

  3. Brian says:

    That’s a great idea! I was definitely a victim of fraction fright, it would have been nice to have a simple way to remember them like this.

  4. Henriette Gougeon says:

    Merci pour le partage des conseils utiles.

  5. Rob says:

    Bienvenue, Henriette! :)

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