How to make teaching equivalent fractions a success

Equivalent fractions practice for 3rd Grade

Do you teach equivalent fractions? Do you want to make teaching equivalent fractions a success for your students this year?

This concept can be tough for kids. I want to show you below how I teach equivalent fractions to my 3rd grade students.
Don't forget to read all the way to the bottom to grab an equivalent fractions activity freebie - it's a color-by-number fractions worksheet PDF!

Need more fraction activities and ideas

What are some equivalent fraction activities that I could use?

I have two different resources that you will LOVE if you are teaching equivalent fractions and want to save precious prep-time
The interactive notebook is perfect to introduce concepts, and keep them in their math notebooks as reference guides

I love using the Google Classroom resource as math centers. It's absolutely no prep for the teacher - you simply assign to students, and then they complete on their own. These are great to use after an introduction lesson.

What are equivalent fractions?

Equivalent fractions are fractions that do not have the same numerator and denominator, but are the same value.

Think about a pie (delicious treats always make fractions better). Would you want to take home half the pie, or 3 out of a total of 6 slices of pie? It wouldn't matter - it's the same thing! The numbers may be completely different, but the actual amount is equivalent, or the same.

Want an easy introduction lesson? Use the example above I gave about the pie. Make a quick t-chart and write down "1/2 of pie" and "3/6 of pie." Give students a Post-It note, and have them stick it to the side of the whiteboard for the piece that they prefer. You'll quickly have a few students that stare at the board and tell you that they can't make the choice... because the two amounts are the same thing. BINGO! 

What are the equivalent fraction concepts that students need to know?

I wanted to break down the concepts that your students will need to know to fully understand equivalent fractions and what they are. If your students master the following concepts, they will master equivalent fractions!

Equivalent fractions equal to 1 and 1/2

Students will need to know what fractions are equal to 1 and 1/2.

Quick tip? Any fraction equal to 1 has the same numerator and denominator. Any fraction equal to 1/2 has a numerator that is half the value of the denominator.

This can take some practice to get kids to the point where they recognize these two fractions at the drop of the hat. It'll happen - just practice, practice, practice!

Equivalent fractions to 1: 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, etc.
Equivalent fractions to 1/2: 1/2, 2/4, 3/6, 4/8, 5/10, etc.

Are the fractions equivalent?

When given two fraction models... are the fractions equivalent? 

Often students can simply look at the pictures and know instantly if the fractions are equivalent. However, it is tougher when the numerical fractions are used instead of a picture. Read below how students can find equivalent fractions mathematically!

How to find equivalent fractions

Below I will show you some of the methods that you can teach students to find equivalent fractions, and how to check that a fraction is truly equivalent.

Butterfly method

I love having students use this method to double-check their answers!

Step 1: Draw the first wing of the "butterfly," starting all the way on the top left, just like reading a book.
Step 2: Multiply these two numbers. Write them on the top left (again, just like reading a book!)
Step 3: Draw the second wing of the "butterfly."
Step 4: Write the number above the top right.
Step 5: Analyze. Are the two numbers the same? If yes, the fractions are equivalent!

Multiplying fractions

Maybe students want to find an equivalent fraction. Here are the steps how to do this:
Step 1: Pick a number (any number!). 
Step 2: Multiply the top and bottom by this number.
Step 3: That's it! 

    Want a free equivalent fractions worksheet PDF color-by-number?

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    Resources featured in post available at Glitter in Third on TPT

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