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Teaching Fraction Basics, Maths In Primary School

Teaching Fraction Basics

Teaching Fraction Basics is to help parents and others tutoring a child in Middle Primary School.

Children in primary school are introduced to fractions in stages. Halves, quarters and thirds are the first fractions. These are taught in various ways in the early and middle primary school.

By Grade 4, when children deal with centimetres and metres, they are then dealing with fractions of 10 and 100.


You can use the words top number and bottom number. Then gradually introduce the terms numerator and denominator.

Top number              is       the numerator

Bottom number           is       the denominator

Children begin to manipulate fractions by adding and subtracting. They first start to add fractions with common denominators such as:

Same Denominators

The denominator stays the same.

Addition of fractions can be represented visually in the following way. This makes it easier for children to understand in the early stages of learning about fractions.

Different Denominators

  • To add fractions the denominators must be the same.
  • Say to your student: Whatever we do to the bottom number we must do to the top number.
  • At this level, children will deal with simple common denominators. To think of a number that is a common multiple of both denominators in the fractions, kids need to know their tables.

  • Say to the student: We multiplied the 5 by 2 to make it 10. Therefore, we must multiply the 3 by 2 and we get 6. Now we can add the numerators and the denominator stays the same.

Apply the same rule to subtraction of fractions.

Mixed Numbers

Changing mixed numbers to improper fractions or vice versa is another step. This will be treated in another Post.


Middle Primary Maths Words is a free list of maths words that children need to learn. In Grade 4, they will be introduced to these words through the year. There is also a list covering words up to Grade 4. Here is the link:


Facts And Fractions Grade 4 is a free bundle of 5 worksheets. It has a range of problems and includes fractions. Here is the link:


Factors And Fractions Grade 4  is also a free bundle of 5 worksheets. It has a sheet on factors. This is a good starting point for adding fractions with different denominators. Here is the Link.






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