Fractions are part of our every day life; we use them all the time without even knowing it. A Fraction is simply when an object or a number is divide into equal parts; each part is a fraction of the whole. There are aways to parts to a fraction. The first part is the *Numerator* or the “number on the top”. The Numerator is the number of the shaded parts of the whole. The second part is the *Denominator *or the “number on the bottom”. We can think of the Denominator as *units, *or all the parts. The Denominator can also never be zero.

The Picture to the left is a Fraction Bar, we can use this to show a fraction with shading and to help us solve problems. This fraction happens to be fourths. Three out of the four squares are shaded therefore it is 3 fourths. This can also be written as a fraction.

To write this as a fraction you would put the 3 in the Numerator, because this is the shaded part of the whole, and you would put the 4 in the denominator because this is the whole number or the units.

This is another Fraction bar, however the size and the shading has changed. This fraction bar represents halves.1 out of two have halves are shaded therefore it is 1 half.

To write this as a fraction you would put the 1 in the numerator, the shaded part. and a 2 in the denominator because there are 2 parts or units.

Another way to use Fraction Bars are to find equivalent fractions. We can take a fraction like 2/3 and find all the fractions that are equal to it.

In the picture above we can see that 2/3 is equal to 4/6 and 8/12.

Another way that we can tell if fractions are equal is by taking the original fraction, and multiplying it by 2/2, 3/3, 4/4 and so on.

2/4 = 4/8 = 3/12 = 8/16

This is a much easier way to understand and work with fractions.

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