Adding and Subtracting Fractions

We are back onto fractions again, working on decimals but I realized I never wrote a post about how we looked at adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominator or how we looked at Improper Fractions (post later this week).

When I first showed my daughter a fraction sum like 2/6 + 3/6 her first reaction was to add both the top and the bottom giving her 5/12.  So I dug out our Learning Resources Fraction Tower Cubes Equivalency Set

Learning Resources Fraction Tower Cube set. Prefect for helping kids with Equivalent Fractions, adding and subtracting fractions and working out decimals and percentages

The Equivalent Fraction Towers are a great visual aid for children to use when they are working with Fractions.  We have used them with my youngest when he was just starting to learn about different fractions (easy way to show that the bigger the denominator the smaller the fraction) and we used them a lot with my daughter when we learnt about Equivalent Fractions last year.

Equivalent Fractions with Learning Resources Fraction Tower Cubes

Using the fraction cubes the kids can set out the sum for themselves and they immediately can see that 2/6 + 3/6 = 5/6.  It was right there.

Adding Fractions With the same denominator using the Learning Resources Fraction Tower Cube set

When you add two fractions together that have the same denominator the denominator stays the same (i.e. the size of the fraction pieces do not change, you just end up with more of the same sized fraction pieces).  And the great thing about this set is they have fractions up to 1/12 so the kids can create sum after sum and keep checking and every time they create a new sum they will see the denominator does not change.

Adding Fraction using Learning Resources Fraction Tower Cubes

So then we used our towers to see what happens when we subtract fractions with the same denominator

We started with 4/5 and took 1/5 away and we had 3/5 – the denominator did not change.

This is why I am such a big believer in using visual tools with Maths.  It really helps when the kids can see for themselves what happens.  And with my kids being able to pick up and move the maths tools around really helps them.

The Equivalent Fraction Towers are perfect for helping the kids to see what happens when you add or subtract fractions with same denominator.

Learning Resources Fraction Tower Cube pieces

If you are busy looking at fractions with your children you might also be interested in this fun Rainbow Fraction Bingo Game or our Fraction shapes that we made.

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About ofamily

Home educating family based in the UK. We try to make learning fun
This entry was posted in maths ideas and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Adding and Subtracting Fractions

  1. another mom says:

    so well explained…good work and a successful day.


  2. angelbeaconcapin says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this post on how to add and subtract fractions. You have explained it in a very detailed manner. I have been searching reading a lot of ways to add and subtract fractions and encountered only two ways. First is you used the LCM. This is best for smaller fractions. The other is to use butterfly method where you have to cross multiply the fractions. This method is best for bigger fractions and those that has no LCM. Again thanks for sharing for this valuable information.


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