Equivalent Fractions Background Information for Teachers and Parents

Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about equivalent fractions. The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Equivalent Fractions. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

Before beginning this topic, we highly recommending reviewing the Basic Parts of a Whole and the More Fractions movie. This movie will explore different examples of equivalent fractions, including some equivalent fractions for one-half, one-fourth, and one-third. We highly recommend pausing the movie as you watch to allow children to draw pictures, work with fraction bars, or use manipulatives to model the fractions in the movie.

Review the parts of the fraction, including the numerator and denominator. Remind children that equivalent fractions have the same value, but use different numbers in the numerator and denominator. If possible, present a sandwich divided into four equal parts. Then take two of the parts away. Explain that two out of four parts, or two-fourths were taken away. Help children understand that two-fourths of the sandwich is the same as one-half. You may even want to cut another sandwich in half to compare. Do the same with other fractions, such as three-sixths, four-eights, or five-tenths. Then challenge children to come up with another equivalent fraction for one-half.

Explore equivalent fractions for one-fourth. Fold a piece of paper into eighths. Then color two of the sections blue or another color. What fraction of the paper is blue? Help children write the fraction two-eighths. Help them see that two-eighths is equal to one-fourth. Take another piece of paper and divide it into quarters and color one section. Put the two papers together to show how the sections are the same size. Repeat the activity with other fractions, such as three-twelfths.

Now explore equivalent fractions for one-third. Draw a rectangle divided into sixths and color two parts blue or another color. What fraction of the rectangle is blue? Help children write the fraction two-sixths. Then draw a rectangle that is the same size, but divided into thirds. Color one-third. Have children compare the shapes and see that the colored sections are the same size. Repeat the activity with other fractions, such as two-sixths or four-twelfths.

Help children explore other equivalent fractions. It may prove helpful for them to draw pictures so they can understand visually how one-fourth is equivalent to three-twelfths or how one-half is equivalent to six-twelfths. Equivalent fractions can be confusing at first, but with practice they become easier. Help children employ different strategies to make sense of equivalent fractions.

Extension Activity:

Review the parts of the fraction, including the numerator and denominator. Remind children that equivalent fractions have the same value, but use different numbers in the numerator and denominator. If possible, present a sandwich divided into four equal parts. Then take two of the parts away. Explain that two out of four parts, or two-fourths were taken away. Help children understand that two-fourths of the sandwich is the same as one-half. You may even want to cut another sandwich in half to compare. Do the same with other fractions, such as three-sixths, four-eights, or five-tenths. Then challenge children to come up with another equivalent fraction for one-half.

Explore equivalent fractions for one-fourth. Fold a piece of paper into eighths. Then color two of the sections blue or another color. What fraction of the paper is blue? Help children write the fraction two-eighths. Help them see that two-eighths is equal to one-fourth. Take another piece of paper and divide it into quarters and color one section. Put the two papers together to show how the sections are the same size. Repeat the activity with other fractions, such as three-twelfths.

Now explore equivalent fractions for one-third. Draw a rectangle divided into sixths and color two parts blue or another color. What fraction of the rectangle is blue? Help children write the fraction two-sixths. Then draw a rectangle that is the same size, but divided into thirds. Color one-third. Have children compare the shapes and see that the colored sections are the same size. Repeat the activity with other fractions, such as two-sixths or four-twelfths.

Help children explore other equivalent fractions. It may prove helpful for them to draw pictures so they can understand visually how one-fourth is equivalent to three-twelfths or how one-half is equivalent to six-twelfths. Equivalent fractions can be confusing at first, but with practice they become easier. Help children employ different strategies to make sense of equivalent fractions.