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A fraction represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts. When spoken in everyday English, a fraction describes how many parts of a certain size there are, for example, one-half, eight-fifths, three-quarters.

1.
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Different types of fraction

There are different types of fraction. Two types are unit fractions and non-unit fractions.

Unit fractions

Unit means one. Here are some examples of unit fractions:

Can you spot the pattern? A unit fraction is one part of a whole that is divided into equal parts.

A unit fraction has 1 as the top number, which is the numerator.

Have another look at the fractions above. With unit fractions, when the bottom number - called the

denominator - is bigger, the value of the unit fraction is smaller.

What other unit fractions can you think of?

Non-unit fractions

Unit means one, so non-unit is any number apart from one. Here are some examples of non-unit

A non-unit fraction is many parts of a whole that is divided into equal parts.

A non-unit fraction has a numerator that isn’t 1.

What other non-unit fractions can you think of?

© BBC 2011

Different types of fraction

There are different types of fraction. Two types are unit fractions and non-unit fractions.

Unit fractions

Unit means one. Here are some examples of unit fractions:

Can you spot the pattern? A unit fraction is one part of a whole that is divided into equal parts.

A unit fraction has 1 as the top number, which is the numerator.

Have another look at the fractions above. With unit fractions, when the bottom number - called the

denominator - is bigger, the value of the unit fraction is smaller.

What other unit fractions can you think of?

Non-unit fractions

Unit means one, so non-unit is any number apart from one. Here are some examples of non-unit

A non-unit fraction is many parts of a whole that is divided into equal parts.

A non-unit fraction has a numerator that isn’t 1.

What other non-unit fractions can you think of?

© BBC 2011

2.
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N2/E3.2

Estimating fractions

When you’re sharing or dividing items into fractions you can estimate - or guess - the amount. If

you have four friends around for a pizza you probably don’t spend time measuring each quarter

exactly! Often when using fractions you estimate measurements, for example when you split food

up into pieces:

You estimate halves and quarters in everyday life. Sometimes you use them to compare sizes, or

to describe something. For example:

1 1

The child is about half, or 2 , the There’s about a quarter, or 4, off

height of the man. the price in the sales!

My train will be about a quarter of The glass is half full. Or are you

an hour late. the type of person who would

say the glass is half empty?

When else have you used fractions in everyday life?

© BBC 2011

N2/E3.2

Estimating fractions

When you’re sharing or dividing items into fractions you can estimate - or guess - the amount. If

you have four friends around for a pizza you probably don’t spend time measuring each quarter

exactly! Often when using fractions you estimate measurements, for example when you split food

up into pieces:

You estimate halves and quarters in everyday life. Sometimes you use them to compare sizes, or

to describe something. For example:

1 1

The child is about half, or 2 , the There’s about a quarter, or 4, off

height of the man. the price in the sales!

My train will be about a quarter of The glass is half full. Or are you

an hour late. the type of person who would

say the glass is half empty?

When else have you used fractions in everyday life?

© BBC 2011

3.
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N2/E3.2

Recognising fractions from shapes

You need to be able to recognise and name fractions in shapes. This will help you recognise

fractions in everyday shapes, such as when cutting a pizza into quarters!

Let’s look at how you ‘read’ fraction shapes.

First, look at how many parts there are:

Note how the shape

This shape is split into two equal parts, the bottom number of is divided into two

the fraction. equal parts.

Next, look at how many parts are shaded:

One part is shaded, this is the top number of the fraction.

1

The shaded fraction is one out of the two parts. This is a half, or 2.

Here are some more examples:

This shape is split into four equal parts, the bottom number of

the fraction.

Three parts are shaded - this is the top number of the fraction.

The shaded fraction is three out of the four parts. This is three

3

quarters, or 4.

This shape is split into ten equal parts, the bottom number of

the fraction.

Two parts are shaded, this is the top number of the fraction.

2

The shaded fraction is two out of the ten parts. This is two tenths, or 10.

© BBC 2011

N2/E3.2

Recognising fractions from shapes

You need to be able to recognise and name fractions in shapes. This will help you recognise

fractions in everyday shapes, such as when cutting a pizza into quarters!

Let’s look at how you ‘read’ fraction shapes.

First, look at how many parts there are:

Note how the shape

This shape is split into two equal parts, the bottom number of is divided into two

the fraction. equal parts.

Next, look at how many parts are shaded:

One part is shaded, this is the top number of the fraction.

1

The shaded fraction is one out of the two parts. This is a half, or 2.

Here are some more examples:

This shape is split into four equal parts, the bottom number of

the fraction.

Three parts are shaded - this is the top number of the fraction.

The shaded fraction is three out of the four parts. This is three

3

quarters, or 4.

This shape is split into ten equal parts, the bottom number of

the fraction.

Two parts are shaded, this is the top number of the fraction.

2

The shaded fraction is two out of the ten parts. This is two tenths, or 10.

© BBC 2011

4.
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N2/E3.2

What do the numbers in fractions mean?

Let’s have a look at our pie again:

Tip

To remember which is which,

numerator is up

and denominator is down.

Fraction pieces

With fractions, the larger the denominator (the number on the bottom) the more pieces a whole is

split up into and the smaller the pieces. For example, the more people you share a pizza with, the

smaller your piece will be.

For example, the pizzas below have been split up to be shared between:

© BBC 2011

N2/E3.2

What do the numbers in fractions mean?

Let’s have a look at our pie again:

Tip

To remember which is which,

numerator is up

and denominator is down.

Fraction pieces

With fractions, the larger the denominator (the number on the bottom) the more pieces a whole is

split up into and the smaller the pieces. For example, the more people you share a pizza with, the

smaller your piece will be.

For example, the pizzas below have been split up to be shared between:

© BBC 2011

5.
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N2/E3.2

What is a fraction?

It’s simple to count whole things like these pies.

There are four whole pies here.

But what if we take away one part of a pie - like this?

The pie has been cut into four equal parts. One part has been taken away. Each piece of pie is a

part of the whole pie.

A fraction is part of something.

This is how we write fractions:

We say this fraction is three quarters.

This is how much pie has been taken away:

We say this fraction is one quarter.

© BBC 2011

N2/E3.2

What is a fraction?

It’s simple to count whole things like these pies.

There are four whole pies here.

But what if we take away one part of a pie - like this?

The pie has been cut into four equal parts. One part has been taken away. Each piece of pie is a

part of the whole pie.

A fraction is part of something.

This is how we write fractions:

We say this fraction is three quarters.

This is how much pie has been taken away:

We say this fraction is one quarter.

© BBC 2011

6.
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Comparing fractions

Here’s a reminder of how to compare the size of fractions.

This long box has been divided into eight equal parts. What fraction of the long box is shaded

1

The long box has been divided into eight, so each small piece is one eighth, or 8, of the whole

long box.

1

Two parts are shaded orange. So two of the eighths, or 8s, are shaded. This means the fraction

will have 2 on the top.

2

So the fraction of the long box that is shaded orange is 8.

This long box has been cut into four pieces and one piece has been shaded green.

1

The fraction of the long box shaded green is one quarter, or 4.

We can compare the two fractions by putting them next to each other like this:

You can see that the amount shaded is the same in each strip. This means that the fractions are

the same, or equal in value.

2 1

So 8 is the same value as 4.

2 1

We can write this as 8 = 4

© BBC 2011

Comparing fractions

Here’s a reminder of how to compare the size of fractions.

This long box has been divided into eight equal parts. What fraction of the long box is shaded

1

The long box has been divided into eight, so each small piece is one eighth, or 8, of the whole

long box.

1

Two parts are shaded orange. So two of the eighths, or 8s, are shaded. This means the fraction

will have 2 on the top.

2

So the fraction of the long box that is shaded orange is 8.

This long box has been cut into four pieces and one piece has been shaded green.

1

The fraction of the long box shaded green is one quarter, or 4.

We can compare the two fractions by putting them next to each other like this:

You can see that the amount shaded is the same in each strip. This means that the fractions are

the same, or equal in value.

2 1

So 8 is the same value as 4.

2 1

We can write this as 8 = 4

© BBC 2011

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Different ways to get the same fraction

We all know how to halve a flapjack so that we get our fair share!

When you divide things into fractions it doesn't matter how you do it as long as the parts are all

equal in size.

1

Each rectangle below has been divided into ten parts. Each of the parts is 10. The rectangles all

3

have three out of their ten parts shaded - or three tenths - which is written 10. All the rectangles

have the same fraction shaded.

These shapes also have the same fraction shaded. They have ten parts and three of the parts

have been shaded.

© BBC 2011

Different ways to get the same fraction

We all know how to halve a flapjack so that we get our fair share!

When you divide things into fractions it doesn't matter how you do it as long as the parts are all

equal in size.

1

Each rectangle below has been divided into ten parts. Each of the parts is 10. The rectangles all

3

have three out of their ten parts shaded - or three tenths - which is written 10. All the rectangles

have the same fraction shaded.

These shapes also have the same fraction shaded. They have ten parts and three of the parts

have been shaded.

© BBC 2011

8.
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Equivalent fractions

These cakes have been cut into slices. One has been cut into six equal parts, or sixths, and the

other into two equal parts, or halves.

Can you see that three parts of the one on the left is same as half of the cake?

3 1

You can write this in fractions as 6 equals 2.

These fractions are known as equivalent fractions because they have the same value.

3

Here’s another example of equivalent fractions. Here both diagrams show 4.

9 3

So 12 is equivalent to 4.

© BBC 2011

Equivalent fractions

These cakes have been cut into slices. One has been cut into six equal parts, or sixths, and the

other into two equal parts, or halves.

Can you see that three parts of the one on the left is same as half of the cake?

3 1

You can write this in fractions as 6 equals 2.

These fractions are known as equivalent fractions because they have the same value.

3

Here’s another example of equivalent fractions. Here both diagrams show 4.

9 3

So 12 is equivalent to 4.

© BBC 2011

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Using a fraction wall

You can use a fraction wall like this to compare fractions with each other. You might find it helpful

to print this out to use with the other factsheets and worksheets.

© BBC 2011

Using a fraction wall

You can use a fraction wall like this to compare fractions with each other. You might find it helpful

to print this out to use with the other factsheets and worksheets.

© BBC 2011

10.
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Recognising fractions in words

You might see fractions in shops, on bills, in newspapers and recipes. It’s useful to recognise

fractions when they’re written as words.

Fraction Word Plural

1 One half (a half) halves

2

1 One third thirds

3

1 One quarter quarters

4

1 One fifth fifths

5

1 One sixth sixths

6

1 One seventh sevenths

7

1 One eighth eighths

8

1 One ninth ninths

9

1 One tenth tenths

10

It’s easy really to make the words, apart from the first four. All the other fractions are like the

numbers but with a ‘th’ sound added at the end.

1

It’s even easier to make the plurals, as long as you’re careful with the plural of 2. You just need to

put an ‘s’ on the end of the other fractions.

© BBC 2011

Recognising fractions in words

You might see fractions in shops, on bills, in newspapers and recipes. It’s useful to recognise

fractions when they’re written as words.

Fraction Word Plural

1 One half (a half) halves

2

1 One third thirds

3

1 One quarter quarters

4

1 One fifth fifths

5

1 One sixth sixths

6

1 One seventh sevenths

7

1 One eighth eighths

8

1 One ninth ninths

9

1 One tenth tenths

10

It’s easy really to make the words, apart from the first four. All the other fractions are like the

numbers but with a ‘th’ sound added at the end.

1

It’s even easier to make the plurals, as long as you’re careful with the plural of 2. You just need to

put an ‘s’ on the end of the other fractions.

© BBC 2011

11.
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Fractions of a whole

What if you have a cake cut into six equal parts?

1

One slice is 6 of the cake.

5

Five slices are 6 of the cake.

6

But if it's too delicious to give away, then you would have 6 of the cake!

If you put all six slices together they make the whole cake.

6

So 6 = 1.

Here are all the fractions you can make.

© BBC 2011

Fractions of a whole

What if you have a cake cut into six equal parts?

1

One slice is 6 of the cake.

5

Five slices are 6 of the cake.

6

But if it's too delicious to give away, then you would have 6 of the cake!

If you put all six slices together they make the whole cake.

6

So 6 = 1.

Here are all the fractions you can make.

© BBC 2011

12.
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Fractions that can’t be simplified

3 4 7 9

Take a look at these fractions: 4, 5, 8, 11.

What do you notice about them? Can they be simplified?

There is no number that can go into both the top number and the bottom number exactly, so

these fractions can’t be simplified.

They’re already in their simplest form.

3 4

of this shape is shaded. 5

of this shape is shaded.

4

7 9

8

of these shapes are shaded. of these shapes are shaded.

11

5 6 7 10

Have a look at these fractions: 6, 7, 9, 11. Can you simplify any of them?

None of them can be simplified because in each fraction there is no number that will go into both

the top number and the bottom number without leaving a remainder.

5

Let’s look at 6.

The numbers less than 5 (the top number) but greater than 1 are 2, 3 and 4.

2 goes into 6 exactly three times, but doesn’t go exactly into 5, as 5 ÷ 2 has a remainder of 1.

3 goes into 6 exactly twice, but doesn’t go exactly into 5, as 5 ÷ 3 has a remainder of 2.

5 ÷ 4 leaves a remainder and 6 ÷ 4 also leaves a remainder, so 4 leaves a remainder in both 5

and 6.

5

We can’t use any of 2, 3 or 4 to simplify the fraction. So it’s impossible to simplify 6.

© BBC 2011

Fractions that can’t be simplified

3 4 7 9

Take a look at these fractions: 4, 5, 8, 11.

What do you notice about them? Can they be simplified?

There is no number that can go into both the top number and the bottom number exactly, so

these fractions can’t be simplified.

They’re already in their simplest form.

3 4

of this shape is shaded. 5

of this shape is shaded.

4

7 9

8

of these shapes are shaded. of these shapes are shaded.

11

5 6 7 10

Have a look at these fractions: 6, 7, 9, 11. Can you simplify any of them?

None of them can be simplified because in each fraction there is no number that will go into both

the top number and the bottom number without leaving a remainder.

5

Let’s look at 6.

The numbers less than 5 (the top number) but greater than 1 are 2, 3 and 4.

2 goes into 6 exactly three times, but doesn’t go exactly into 5, as 5 ÷ 2 has a remainder of 1.

3 goes into 6 exactly twice, but doesn’t go exactly into 5, as 5 ÷ 3 has a remainder of 2.

5 ÷ 4 leaves a remainder and 6 ÷ 4 also leaves a remainder, so 4 leaves a remainder in both 5

and 6.

5

We can’t use any of 2, 3 or 4 to simplify the fraction. So it’s impossible to simplify 6.

© BBC 2011

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Fractions that equal one

All these pizzas have been sliced up in different ways, ready to be eaten. If you keep all the parts

together they make a whole pizza or a fraction that’s equivalent to a whole one.

So if the number on the top of a fraction is the same as the number on the bottom then you have

exactly one.

2 3 4 5 6

2 = 3 = 4 = 5 = 6 = 1

© BBC 2011

Fractions that equal one

All these pizzas have been sliced up in different ways, ready to be eaten. If you keep all the parts

together they make a whole pizza or a fraction that’s equivalent to a whole one.

So if the number on the top of a fraction is the same as the number on the bottom then you have

exactly one.

2 3 4 5 6

2 = 3 = 4 = 5 = 6 = 1

© BBC 2011

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Simplifying fractions

Perhaps you think that fractions can never be simple, but they can often be written more simply.

Have a look at these fractions and decide which one is the simplest. 1 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 .

2 8 10 12 18

You probably chose 1 , which represents a half. But all the other fractions in the list can be

2

simplified and they’re the same as 1 . They’re known as equivalent fractions.

2

The important thing is that you must find a number that divides into both the top and bottom

numbers at the same time. This is sometimes called cancelling down.

This is the case with the fractions above. For these fractions, you can divide the top and bottom of

each one by the numerator - the number on the top.

Take 4 . We can divide both numbers by 4.

8

For the top number: 4÷4=1

For the bottom number: 8÷4=2

So 4 is the same as 1 .

8 2

You can see this process in the

÷4 above diagram - the four

4 ð 1 squares in darker blue are one

8 ð 2 half of the whole.

÷4

Now try simplifying the other fractions in the same way: 5 , 6 , 9 .

10 12 18

The numerators - top numbers - 5, 6 and 9 are the biggest numbers that will go into both the

numerator and the denominator - bottom number - exactly.

5 ÷ 5 = 1 and 10 ÷ 5 = 2, so 5 is the same as 1 .

10 2

6 ÷ 6 = 1 and 12 ÷ 6 = 2, so 6 is the same as 1 .

12 2

9 ÷ 9 = 1 and 18 ÷ 9 = 2, so 9 is the same as 1 .

18 2

So you can simplify all the fractions on this page to 1 .

2

© BBC 2011

Simplifying fractions

Perhaps you think that fractions can never be simple, but they can often be written more simply.

Have a look at these fractions and decide which one is the simplest. 1 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 9 .

2 8 10 12 18

You probably chose 1 , which represents a half. But all the other fractions in the list can be

2

simplified and they’re the same as 1 . They’re known as equivalent fractions.

2

The important thing is that you must find a number that divides into both the top and bottom

numbers at the same time. This is sometimes called cancelling down.

This is the case with the fractions above. For these fractions, you can divide the top and bottom of

each one by the numerator - the number on the top.

Take 4 . We can divide both numbers by 4.

8

For the top number: 4÷4=1

For the bottom number: 8÷4=2

So 4 is the same as 1 .

8 2

You can see this process in the

÷4 above diagram - the four

4 ð 1 squares in darker blue are one

8 ð 2 half of the whole.

÷4

Now try simplifying the other fractions in the same way: 5 , 6 , 9 .

10 12 18

The numerators - top numbers - 5, 6 and 9 are the biggest numbers that will go into both the

numerator and the denominator - bottom number - exactly.

5 ÷ 5 = 1 and 10 ÷ 5 = 2, so 5 is the same as 1 .

10 2

6 ÷ 6 = 1 and 12 ÷ 6 = 2, so 6 is the same as 1 .

12 2

9 ÷ 9 = 1 and 18 ÷ 9 = 2, so 9 is the same as 1 .

18 2

So you can simplify all the fractions on this page to 1 .

2

© BBC 2011

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Simplifying improper fractions

7 12

Have a look at the fractions 2 and 8

.

7

Looking at 2: there are two halves in a whole, so in seven halves there are 3 wholes and one half

1

left over - which is 32. This is called a mixed fraction or mixed number.

1

In other words, 7 ÷ 2 = 3 remainder 1. So the answer written as a mixed fraction is 32.

12

Looking at 8

: there are eight eighths in a whole, so in 12 eighths there’s one whole and four

4

eighths left over - which is 18.

4

In other words, 12 ÷ 8 = 1 remainder 4. So the answer written as a mixed fraction is 1 8.

4 1 !

Did you notice that 8 can be simplified again to 2 making the correct answer 1 !?

To change an improper or top-heavy fraction to a mixed number - in other words, a number and a

1. Divide the top number by the bottom. This gives you the number of whole ones you need.

2. Work out the remainder. This gives you the fraction that’s left over.

3. See if the answer needs to be simplified. In other words, can you divide the top and

bottom by the same number without a remainder.

© BBC 2011

Simplifying improper fractions

7 12

Have a look at the fractions 2 and 8

.

7

Looking at 2: there are two halves in a whole, so in seven halves there are 3 wholes and one half

1

left over - which is 32. This is called a mixed fraction or mixed number.

1

In other words, 7 ÷ 2 = 3 remainder 1. So the answer written as a mixed fraction is 32.

12

Looking at 8

: there are eight eighths in a whole, so in 12 eighths there’s one whole and four

4

eighths left over - which is 18.

4

In other words, 12 ÷ 8 = 1 remainder 4. So the answer written as a mixed fraction is 1 8.

4 1 !

Did you notice that 8 can be simplified again to 2 making the correct answer 1 !?

To change an improper or top-heavy fraction to a mixed number - in other words, a number and a

1. Divide the top number by the bottom. This gives you the number of whole ones you need.

2. Work out the remainder. This gives you the fraction that’s left over.

3. See if the answer needs to be simplified. In other words, can you divide the top and

bottom by the same number without a remainder.

© BBC 2011

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Key words for fractions

Any part of a whole. When you divide something into equal pieces, each piece is a fraction of the

whole thing.

Numerator and denominator

Fractions are written as one

number on top of another. For

example a half is written as 1

on top of 2 like this .

The parts are given the names

numerator and denominator.

Common fraction or proper fraction

Common fractions are smaller than 1. They are also called proper fractions. For example, .

Improper fraction or top-heavy fraction

Improper fractions are bigger than 1. They are also called top-heavy fractions. For example, .

Mixed number

Mixed numbers are bigger than 1. A mixed number is a combination of a whole number and a

common fraction. For example, .

Equivalent fraction

Equivalent fractions have the same value. For example, = .

You can make equivalent fractions by multiplying or dividing

the top and bottom of a fraction by the same number.

Reducing, simplifying or cancelling down fractions

To simplify a fraction you divide the numerator and the

denominator by the largest number that divides into both

exactly. The value of the fraction stays the same. This is also

called reducing or simplifying.

© BBC 2011

Key words for fractions

Any part of a whole. When you divide something into equal pieces, each piece is a fraction of the

whole thing.

Numerator and denominator

Fractions are written as one

number on top of another. For

example a half is written as 1

on top of 2 like this .

The parts are given the names

numerator and denominator.

Common fraction or proper fraction

Common fractions are smaller than 1. They are also called proper fractions. For example, .

Improper fraction or top-heavy fraction

Improper fractions are bigger than 1. They are also called top-heavy fractions. For example, .

Mixed number

Mixed numbers are bigger than 1. A mixed number is a combination of a whole number and a

common fraction. For example, .

Equivalent fraction

Equivalent fractions have the same value. For example, = .

You can make equivalent fractions by multiplying or dividing

the top and bottom of a fraction by the same number.

Reducing, simplifying or cancelling down fractions

To simplify a fraction you divide the numerator and the

denominator by the largest number that divides into both

exactly. The value of the fraction stays the same. This is also

called reducing or simplifying.

© BBC 2011

17.
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Key words for fractions

When you compare fractions you have to put them in order of size.

You’ll find more maths words explained in the Skillswise glossary.

© BBC 2011

Key words for fractions

When you compare fractions you have to put them in order of size.

You’ll find more maths words explained in the Skillswise glossary.

© BBC 2011

18.
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More fractions in words

How do you write three quarters in figures?

1 3 3

One quarter would be 4. Three quarters is written 4. The 3 on the top of 4 tells us we have 3 lots of

1

the 4.

1

One tenth is written 10. How do you write three tenths? You write it with a 3 on the top to show you

1 3

have three lots of 10. So three tenths is written 10.

Here are some more examples of fractions in words.

Words Figures Words Figures

1 3

one quarter three quarters

4 4

2 3

two fifths three eighths

5 8

4 2

four fifths two thirds

5 3

Can you see how it works? The first number goes on the top, the second number on the bottom.

Mixing whole numbers and fractions

Suppose a film lasts one and a half hours. How do you write this in figures? You write the 1 then

1

the half, like this, 12 hours.

It’s the same with other mixes of whole numbers and fractions. For example:

1

two and a quarter written in figures is 24

3

one and three quarters written in figures is 14

2

one and two thirds written in figures is 13

9

Have a look at this number: 9910. It’s ninety nine and a fraction. The fraction has a 10 on the

bottom so it’s tenths. There is a 9 on the top of the fraction so it’s nine tenths. So the number

written in words is ninety nine and nine tenths.

© BBC 2011

More fractions in words

How do you write three quarters in figures?

1 3 3

One quarter would be 4. Three quarters is written 4. The 3 on the top of 4 tells us we have 3 lots of

1

the 4.

1

One tenth is written 10. How do you write three tenths? You write it with a 3 on the top to show you

1 3

have three lots of 10. So three tenths is written 10.

Here are some more examples of fractions in words.

Words Figures Words Figures

1 3

one quarter three quarters

4 4

2 3

two fifths three eighths

5 8

4 2

four fifths two thirds

5 3

Can you see how it works? The first number goes on the top, the second number on the bottom.

Mixing whole numbers and fractions

Suppose a film lasts one and a half hours. How do you write this in figures? You write the 1 then

1

the half, like this, 12 hours.

It’s the same with other mixes of whole numbers and fractions. For example:

1

two and a quarter written in figures is 24

3

one and three quarters written in figures is 14

2

one and two thirds written in figures is 13

9

Have a look at this number: 9910. It’s ninety nine and a fraction. The fraction has a 10 on the

bottom so it’s tenths. There is a 9 on the top of the fraction so it’s nine tenths. So the number

written in words is ninety nine and nine tenths.

© BBC 2011

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More improper fractions

9 7 12 15

Have a look at these fractions: , , , .

4 2 5 7

These are also improper fractions because the top number is bigger than the bottom number.

You can divide the bottom number into the top number to simplify the fraction into whole

numbers, but it doesn’t divide exactly. There is a remainder, which you need to write as a

A recipe uses a quarter of a litre of milk per person. For nine people this would be nine quarters,

in other words 9 litres. What is this as a mixed number? How many full litres are there? What is

4

the remainder - how much is left over?

When you have a denominator, or bottom number, of 4 you are dealing with quarters. Four

quarters equal one whole, or 1.

1

3

4

2

4

1

4

0

Eight quarters equal two wholes, or two. One more quarter is nine quarters, which is two wholes

and one quarter left over.

1 1 1

3 3 3

4 4 4

2 2 2

4 4 4

1 1 1

4 4 4

0 0 0

9

You can write as a mixed number: 2 1 . This means nine lots of a quarter litres is 2 1 litres.

4 4 4

© BBC 2011

More improper fractions

9 7 12 15

Have a look at these fractions: , , , .

4 2 5 7

These are also improper fractions because the top number is bigger than the bottom number.

You can divide the bottom number into the top number to simplify the fraction into whole

numbers, but it doesn’t divide exactly. There is a remainder, which you need to write as a

A recipe uses a quarter of a litre of milk per person. For nine people this would be nine quarters,

in other words 9 litres. What is this as a mixed number? How many full litres are there? What is

4

the remainder - how much is left over?

When you have a denominator, or bottom number, of 4 you are dealing with quarters. Four

quarters equal one whole, or 1.

1

3

4

2

4

1

4

0

Eight quarters equal two wholes, or two. One more quarter is nine quarters, which is two wholes

and one quarter left over.

1 1 1

3 3 3

4 4 4

2 2 2

4 4 4

1 1 1

4 4 4

0 0 0

9

You can write as a mixed number: 2 1 . This means nine lots of a quarter litres is 2 1 litres.

4 4 4

© BBC 2011

20.
N2/L1.2

Two-step fraction problems

You can use unit fractions to help you solve harder problems.

3 1

To find 4 of a box of 24 chocolates, think of the calculation as three lots of 4 of the chocolates.

1

First find 4 of 24: 24 ÷ 4 = 6.

Then multiply the answer by 3: 3 × 6 = 18.

So the answer is 18 chocolates.

2 1

To find 3 of a box of 24 chocolates, think of the calculation as two lots of 3 of the chocolates.

1

First find 3 of 24: 24 ÷ 3 = 8.

Then multiply the answer by 2: 2 × 8 = 16.

So the answer is 16 chocolates.

You need to remember what numbers to divide and multiply by. You do this by looking at the

fraction you want. The bottom number – denominator - is the dividing number and the top number

– numerator - is the multiplying number.

Fraction Divide by Multiply by

2 5 2

5

6 7 6

7

3 10 3

10

5 8 5

8

9 12 9

12

© BBC 2011

Two-step fraction problems

You can use unit fractions to help you solve harder problems.

3 1

To find 4 of a box of 24 chocolates, think of the calculation as three lots of 4 of the chocolates.

1

First find 4 of 24: 24 ÷ 4 = 6.

Then multiply the answer by 3: 3 × 6 = 18.

So the answer is 18 chocolates.

2 1

To find 3 of a box of 24 chocolates, think of the calculation as two lots of 3 of the chocolates.

1

First find 3 of 24: 24 ÷ 3 = 8.

Then multiply the answer by 2: 2 × 8 = 16.

So the answer is 16 chocolates.

You need to remember what numbers to divide and multiply by. You do this by looking at the

fraction you want. The bottom number – denominator - is the dividing number and the top number

– numerator - is the multiplying number.

Fraction Divide by Multiply by

2 5 2

5

6 7 6

7

3 10 3

10

5 8 5

8

9 12 9

12

© BBC 2011

21.
N2/L1.1

Unit fractions and sharing

This pizza has been cut into three equal parts. We call these thirds. You can write one third as .

The whole pizza cut into three equal parts gives us three thirds.

Think about just one slice. This is one third. You can write one third as the fraction .

Think about two slices. Two slices make two thirds. You can write two thirds as .

The top number of the fraction tells us how many

slices we have. This number is the numerator.

The bottom number tells us how many parts there are

in the whole pizza. This number is the denominator.

© BBC 2011

Unit fractions and sharing

This pizza has been cut into three equal parts. We call these thirds. You can write one third as .

The whole pizza cut into three equal parts gives us three thirds.

Think about just one slice. This is one third. You can write one third as the fraction .

Think about two slices. Two slices make two thirds. You can write two thirds as .

The top number of the fraction tells us how many

slices we have. This number is the numerator.

The bottom number tells us how many parts there are

in the whole pizza. This number is the denominator.

© BBC 2011

22.
N2/L1.1

What are mixed numbers?

A number like 1 1 is called a mixed number because it is a mix of a whole number and a fraction.

2

The whole number part is 1.

1 11

The fraction part is 1 . 2 2

2

Here are some more examples of mixed 0 1 2

numbers: 2 7 , 6 2 , 10 3 , 33 1 , 99 9 .

8 3 4 3 10

Comparing mixed numbers

When you compare the size of two mixed numbers the first things to check are the whole number

parts. If one has a smaller whole number part than the other then it is the smaller number.

For example, 1 1 is less than 2 1 because 1 is less than 2.

2 4

When the whole number parts are the 11 21

same you need to check the fraction parts. 2 4

Example 0 1 2

Which is smaller, 1 1 or 1 1 ?

4 2

Both are mixed numbers. First compare the whole number parts. Both have a whole number part

of 1. So you need to compare the fraction

11 11

parts. 4 2

1 is less than 1 , so 1 1 is less than 1 1 .

4 2 4 2 0 1 2

When you compare fractions with mixed numbers the fractions have no whole number part, so

they are smaller than the mixed numbers.

2 11 21

Put these in order, smallest first: 3 2 3

2 1 , 2 , 11 .

3

3 2

0 1 2

The smallest is 2 because the others have whole number parts.

3

1 is smaller than 2 1 because it has a smaller whole number part.

1

2 3

So the correct order, smallest first, is 2 , 1 1 , 2 1 .

3 2 3

© BBC 2011

What are mixed numbers?

A number like 1 1 is called a mixed number because it is a mix of a whole number and a fraction.

2

The whole number part is 1.

1 11

The fraction part is 1 . 2 2

2

Here are some more examples of mixed 0 1 2

numbers: 2 7 , 6 2 , 10 3 , 33 1 , 99 9 .

8 3 4 3 10

Comparing mixed numbers

When you compare the size of two mixed numbers the first things to check are the whole number

parts. If one has a smaller whole number part than the other then it is the smaller number.

For example, 1 1 is less than 2 1 because 1 is less than 2.

2 4

When the whole number parts are the 11 21

same you need to check the fraction parts. 2 4

Example 0 1 2

Which is smaller, 1 1 or 1 1 ?

4 2

Both are mixed numbers. First compare the whole number parts. Both have a whole number part

of 1. So you need to compare the fraction

11 11

parts. 4 2

1 is less than 1 , so 1 1 is less than 1 1 .

4 2 4 2 0 1 2

When you compare fractions with mixed numbers the fractions have no whole number part, so

they are smaller than the mixed numbers.

2 11 21

Put these in order, smallest first: 3 2 3

2 1 , 2 , 11 .

3

3 2

0 1 2

The smallest is 2 because the others have whole number parts.

3

1 is smaller than 2 1 because it has a smaller whole number part.

1

2 3

So the correct order, smallest first, is 2 , 1 1 , 2 1 .

3 2 3

© BBC 2011