Learning Fractions
On The Number Line

Learning fractions on a number line is the best way for a child to understand it as being simply a number.

Once your child has gained confidence in this, the mystery surrounding this topic will be dispelled and the work will become considerably easier.

I have been teaching junior high school mathematics for the past fifteen years. I have tried many different methods of teaching this topic.

Out of these, using number lines has proven to be the best method of learning any skills beyond recognizing parts of a whole.

I have been refining this method continuously for the past 7 years and believe that this approach makes this otherwise difficult topic readily accessible to all children.

The following sections are presented in order from beginning concepts to more advanced ones. There are instructional videos with each sub topic as well as downloadable practice exercises.

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Parts Of A Whole And Equivalent Fractions

To begin with, build a basic understanding through these introductory worksheets, where the idea of parts of a whole and what this looks like in fraction form are introduced.

This is the traditional method of teaching the subject, and all that will be gained from it is the notion that a fraction is not a whole object. Nevertheless, it is a necessary stepping stone to working on the number line.

Once the basics are mastered, understanding equivalence is simple. In order to be successful at these, a sound knowledge of math tables is essential.

After mastering these skills it is time to move on to simplifying, which again harnesses the basic times tables skills. This is simply the reverse process for finding equivalent values.

Onto The Number Line

Once the basics of parts of a whole have been learned, it’s time to get them onto the number line. This is the biggest obstacle to most people’s understanding of this topic but it can be a painless experience.

If you’ve not yet got one, grab a free sheet of printable number lines.

Once equivalence and the number lines are under control, it’s simple to put equivalence on the number line. This provides proof that the number values really are equal, something that is not obvious with other methods.

This is really worth a go; there is no other way to see these part numbers as having the same numerical value.

Conversion of mixed numbers to improper fractions and vice versa is also easy to achieve on the number line. In fact, your child can work out the rules herself with this simple explanation.

Adding And Subtracting

The number line is once again the ideal place to begin addition and subtraction for this topic.

Note that for number line addition to be successful your child already needs to be able to place them on the number line as described above.

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