blank'/> Promoting Success: What is the easiest way to teach equivalent fractions to children?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What is the easiest way to teach equivalent fractions to children?

Are you looking for some fun activities to teach and explain equivalent fractions to children in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade?

If your students have mastered fractions on a number line and picture fractions, it may be time to teach them equivalent fractions. The easiest way for your students to have a deeper understanding of equivalent fraction concepts is to use fraction models and manipulatives.

Francis Fennell, NCTM President 2006-2008, shared that virtually every time he asked teachers of algebra what they wish their incoming students knew, their response was "fractions." The results of his informal polling were validated in the National Survey of Algebra Teachers compiled by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for the National Mathematics Advisory Panel of the U.S. Department of Education.

Read below for 12 free ideas for teaching your 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and special education math students about equivalent fractions.


You will find these skills in the Common Core math standards:

Explain equivalence of fractions in special cases, and compare fractions by reasoning about their size.

Understand two fractions as equivalent (equal) if they are the same size, or the same point on a number line.

Recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, e.g., 1/2 = 2/4, 4/6 = 2/3. Explain why the fractions are equivalent, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.

Express whole numbers as fractions, and recognize fractions that are equivalent to whole numbers. Examples: Express 3 in the form 3 = 3/1; recognize that 6/1 = 6; locate 4/4 and 1 at the same point of a number line diagram.

Compare two fractions with the same numerator or the same denominator by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.


Equivalent Fractions Teachers Pay Teachers Promoting-Success

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Please watch this video for six activity ideas to teach equivalent fractions! 

Then scroll down for 6 more ideas!

And now for 6 more ideas...


#7 Pizza and Paper Plates

Pizza is always a high interest topic for students. 

Student may create their own pizzas with paper plates.

Step 1:  Students color the outer edge of the paper plate for the crust.
Step 2: Students color the inner circle of the paper plate for the sauce.
Step 3: Students cut various shapes from colored construction paper for pizza toppings and glue them onto the "sauce".
Step 4:  When the pizza is dry, turn it over and draw lines for equal fractional parts.  For example, for fourths, draw a line vertically and horizontally.  Cut the pizza.
Step 5: Students may make several kinds of pizza to demonstrate different fractions. (halves, fourths, sixths and eighths)

Click the picture to head over to this blog to see how a paper plate pizza is made:

paper plate pizza fractions

If you're not feeling crafty or don't have classroom time for it, you may wish to purchase these great resources from our Amazon Associate store:

pizza fractions for kids math centers stations

magnetic pizza fractions for kids

You may also like these worksheets from our TpT store:

pizza fractions worksheets for 3rd 4th grade math

Click HERE to download a free fractions worksheet.

free fractions pizza worksheets


#8 Playing Cards

Fractions Game - Click HERE for free directions.


Click HERE for directions to play a SLAP FRACTIONS game from Education World.

fractions games with playing cards


You may also like these fractions playing cards:

fractions playing cards

This 49-card set corresponds exactly to a set of Fraction Bars. Excellent for moving students from the concrete Fraction Bars model to the abstract conceptualization of fractions.


#9 Task Cards

Brain research supports the connection between movement and learning. Evidence from imaging sources, anatomical studies, and clinical data shows that moderate movement enhances cognitive processing. Task cards offer an easy way to allow movement in the classroom while increasing student achievement!

These FREE samplers will help get you started!

3rd grade fractions free task cards games

free 5th grade math fractions task cards games activities

how to use task cards in your classroom

Are you looking for more ideas on how to use task cards in your classroom? 

Please click here:


#10 Journal Writing 

Journal writing for math? Absolutely! Math journals are a fun way to your students to show their thinking, work out math problems, and draw pictures to represent concepts.

Students may write fraction word problems in their math journals. 

On the top half of the left side, have the students write a word problem with fractions. 

On the bottom half of the left side, draw a picture to represent the word problem.  

On the top half of the right side, the students will write key details and  a number sentence for the problem. 

On the bottom half of the right side, students will solve the problem and check their work.

Please click here to purchase journals from our Amazon Associate store.

math journals

steps to solving math word problems

You may download free 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade fraction word problem task cards to use in your math centers for fun games and activities. This is a great way to try before you buy!

You may use the printable task cards in your math centers or stations for fun practice or review games and activities, such as a scavenger hunt or SCOOT. They also work well for transition activities, as exit tickets, for morning work, test prep, and as quick formative assessments. Game ideas, a student response form, and answer key are included.

Click HERE for addition and subtraction pizza themed word problems.

Click HERE for more fraction word problems.


#11 Online Fraction Games 

There are many great websites for free online fraction games. They are a teacher timesaver and introduce your students to fundamental steps of learner in a high-interest way.

Click each title to visit the website hosting each online game:


#12 Cyberchase Fraction Videos

Click HERE for free fun videos that introduce numerators, denominators and fractions. 

fractions videos for kids


You may also like these Amazon Associate fraction resources:

equivalent fractions cubes



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Shelly Anton is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to ** This means there are Amazon affiliate links in these blog posts. This does not mean you pay a dime more when you purchase a product through the link. It just means I am trying to save you valuable teacher time by making it easier for you to find great resources for your students, and I earn a few cents for my research and time. Thank you for all you do for kids!