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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

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Instructor:
*Jessica Lowe*

How do you figure out if you'd rather have 1/2 or 2/3 of a sandwich for lunch? This lesson uses real world examples and pictures to help you understand how to compare fractions.

Your best friend has a candy bar in their lunch. Because you share everything, they ask if you want 1/2 or 3/5 it. Now, you want the most chocolate you can get, right? Follow along to learn how to figure this out.

Before we get started, let's review what a fraction is. A **fraction** is a number less than one. This model shows the fraction 3/5.

The 5 is the number of equal pieces the model is broken into. This is called the **denominator**. The 3 is the number of parts we're talking about. This is called the **numerator**. It's what is colored blue.

The numerator is the number on top of the fraction line, and the denominator is the number underneath the fraction line. See picture A.

Now, that we've reviewed the parts of a fraction, let's get back to the chocolate. How do you figure out if 1/2 or 3/5 is bigger?

1. Write the fractions side by side, leaving a little room in the middle for the less than, greater than, or equal to sign (more about those later).

2. Multiply the numerator in the first fraction, which is 1, by the denominator in the second fraction, which is 5. Write the answer, which is 5, next to the numerator in the first fraction (1 x 5 = 5).

3. Multiply the numerator of the second fraction, which is 3, times the denominator in the first fraction, which is 2. Write the answer, which is 6, next to the numerator in the second fraction (3 x 2 = 6).

4. Which number next to the numerators is greater? The 6 next to the second fraction is greater, so the second fraction is larger. It's that simple!

You tell your best friend that you want 3/5 of the chocolate bar.

When comparing fractions, you use the 'less than', 'greater (bigger) than', and 'equal to' signs. See picture B.

5. So, going back to the chocolate example, you'll write the 'less than' sign in the middle since 1/2 is less than 3/5. See picture C.

If 1/2 was greater than 3/5, you would put the > in the middle. If 1/2 was equal to 3/5 you would put the = sign in the middle. In this case, you would put the < sign in the middle since 1/2 < 3/5.

Hint: If you get the 'less than', 'greater than', or 'equal to' signs mixed up, just think of the big open part as a big hungry Pac-Man. Pac-Man loves to eat the bigger number so have the mouth facing the bigger number. The pointy part of the arrow faces the smaller number.

To compare fractions, you

- Multiply the numerator (top) in the first fraction times the denominator (bottom) in the second and write that number by the first numerator.
- Next, you multiply the numerator (top) in the second fraction times the denominator (bottom) in the first fraction and write that number next to the second fraction.
- Whichever number is bigger, is the bigger fraction! Write the correct sign in the middle of the two fractions.

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Math for Kids23 chapters | 325 lessons

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- Comparing Fractions: Lesson for Kids
- How to Add Fractions: Lesson for Kids
- Fractions Games for Kids
- Fractions to Decimals: Lesson for Kids
- Fractions: Lesson for Kids
- Numerator & Denominator Lesson for Kids
- Decimals: Lesson for Kids
- Multiplying Fractions by Whole Numbers: Lesson for Kids 3:04
- How to Simplify Fractions: Lesson for Kids
- Improper Fractions: Lesson for Kids
- What is a Benchmark Fraction on a Number Line? 3:48
- How to Add Mixed Fractions with Different Denominators
- Multiplying Compound Fractions
- Simplifying Compound Fractions
- Dividing Compound Fractions
- Adding Compound Fractions
- Subtracting Compound Fractions
- How to Subtract Fractions with Variables
- Multiplying Fractions with Like Denominators
- Subtracting Fractions with Like Denominators
- Reducing Fractions: Rules & Practice
- Definition of Simplest Form: Lesson for Kids
- How to Add Fractions with Unlike Denominators
- How to Subtract Fractions with Unlike Denominators
- Rules for Subtracting Fractions
- Rules for Multiplying Fractions
- Rules for Dividing Fractions
- Ordering Fractions on a Number Line
- Locating Fractions on a Number Line
- How to Add & Subtract Two Fractions with Like Denominators
- How to Find Equivalent Fractions on a Number Line
- How to Subtract Mixed Fractions with Unlike Denominators
- Go to Fractions for Elementary School

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