Kelley has been teaching middle school for six years and has a master's degree in educational administration.
Fractions in Math
A fraction is a number that shows the parts of a whole. Fractions also represent numbers that are less than 1.
This model represents the fraction 1/4:
Here, one out of a total of four squares is shaded.
Fractions are composed of two numbers: the numerator and denominator.
The numerator is the top number. It represents how many parts have been selected out of the total number of parts. In this case, 1 is the numerator because only one square has been shaded.
The denominator is the bottom number. It represents the whole, or total amount. Here, the number 4 is the denominator because the model is made up of a total of four squares.
Let's write a fraction for this model:
Since two of the eight parts have been shaded, the fraction is 2/8 .
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Comparing fractions with like denominators is pretty easy. When we say like denominators, we are talking about fractions that have the exact same denominator, or bottom number.
For example, 3/8 and 6/8 have like denominators because they both have a denominator of 8.
Let's look at an example. Say your friend asks you if you want 3/5 of a pizza or 2/5 of a cake. You probably want the bigger piece, right?
But how do you know if there's more pizza or more cake? Since 3/5 and 2/5 have like denominators, they both have a total of five pieces. Now, all you have to do is look at the numerators, which will tell you how many pieces you'll get out of a total of five pieces.
As 3 is more than 2, you'd want 3/5 of a pizza, rather than 2/5 of a cake.
Let's take a look:
Use of Symbols
When comparing fractions, we usually use symbols to show if a fraction is less than, or greater than, or equal to another fraction.
For example, 2 is greater than 1, so we would write it using the greater than symbol: 2 > 1.
Let's try using these symbols with fractions.
Remember when we figured out that 3/5 of a pizza was more than 2/5 of a cake? We can write that as 3/5 > 2/5.
Here's a practice problem: You and your friend decide to see who can eat more gummy bears. You eat 1/3 of a bag of gummy bears, while your friend eats 2/3 of a bag of gummy bears. Who ate the most?
Here, 1/3 and 2/3 have like denominators, so we only need to look at their numerators. We know that 1 is less than 2. Therefore, 1/3 < 2/3 . Your friend ate more gummy bears than you did.
Let's review. A fraction is a number that shows the parts of a whole. Fractions represent numbers that are less than 1. In a fraction, the numerator is the top number, which represents how many parts have been selected out of the total number of parts. The denominator is the bottom number, which represents the whole, or total amount. Like denominators have the exact same bottom number, which makes them easy to compare. When comparing fractions, we usually use symbols to show if a fraction is less than, greater than, or equal to another fraction.
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Comparing Fractions With Like Denominators: Lesson for Kids
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