Introduction to fractions

Home learning focus

Learn how to identify and write fractions.

This includes:

  • two videos
  • three interactive activities

Learn

What is a fraction? In this clip from 1st Level Maths and Numeracy Snoot and Fin show you, using their tasty pizza!

Now, let's get moving! To find out more about fractions, watch this Supermovers film with 'The Denigineers' Joe Tracini!

What is a fraction?

A fraction tells you how many parts of a whole you have. Let's take a look at some different fractions.

When you divide something into two equal parts, each part is called a half.

When you divide a whole object into four equal parts, each part is called a quarter.

Fractions are shown by having one number on top of another, for example:

You would pronounce this fraction as either 'one quarter' or 'one over four' or 'one out of four.'

  • The top number is called a numerator. This shows how many parts you have (1 in this example).

  • The bottom number is called a denominator. This shows you how many parts the whole object has been divided into (4 in this example).

Fractions in daily life

Fractions are really important and we use them lots in daily life.

  • We use them when telling the time to know when it is 'quarter past', 'half past' and 'quarter to' the hour.

  • We use them when we’re baking, for example 'use half a kilogram of flour'.

  • We even see fractions in shops when there are sales, for example 'Half price cakes!'.

Think about a pizza that has been cut into 6 equal pieces.

The denominator (bottom number) would represent the whole of the pizza, so the number would be 6.

The numerator would then represent the amount of slices that you are talking about. So if you had eaten 2 slices of pizza, you would say that you’ve eaten ²⁄₆ of the pizza.

To work out what fraction of the pizza is left, you simply count the remaining slices. So if 2 out of 6 slices have been eaten, there are 4 slices left. You can write this as 4⁄₆

Now, look at this rectangle that has been divided equally into 10 pieces.

If you count how many red squares there are, you can find the fraction of red squares. So 4 squares out of 10 are red. The fraction is ⁴⁄₁₀

What fraction of squares aren’t red? Count how many there are. 6 squares are not red, so therefore that is ⁶⁄₁₀ of the squares.

Instead of counting the squares, you could use your subtraction knowledge to work it out.

If there are 10 squares in total and 4 are red, there must be 6 squares that aren’t.

10 - 4 = 6. So as a fraction that is ⁶⁄₁₀

Practise

Activity 1

Can you remember how to label the fraction?

Activity 2

Can you place the correct number of sea lions on the land and in the water to show that ⅗ of them are in the water?

Activity 3

Have a go at this quiz to test your knowledge of fractions!

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources.

More Maths Lessons
BBC Teach
More lessons to help with learning at home
Bitesize games