Understand a fraction a/b with a > 1 as a sum of fractions 1/b.

Before you jump into teaching how to add, subtract, multiply or divide fractions, it’s best to take some time to be sure your students understand what a fraction is. Today’s lesson starts with four videos that explain what exactly IS a fraction. Would you rather use slides and give more detailed explanations to students? There is a link after the videos to PowerPoint presentations you can download and modify. Also, don’t forget to check out our games that teach fractions, Fish Lake (for Mac, Windows and iPad) and Forgotten Trail – playable on the web on Mac, Windows or Chromebook computers!

Games Teaching Fractions

Because we believe multiple examples are essential in introducing fractions, we have four videos that give examples in different contexts.

Fish Lake: A 3D Adventure Game

 In Fish Lake, players practice with fractions while learning math problem-solving strategies. They’ll also be introduced to Native American history. Who knew you could get this excited about fractions? Recommended for grades 4 and up. Runs on iPad, Mac and Windows computers.

Forgotten Trail

Follow two teenagers who apply their knowledge of fractions, decimals, measurement and statistics to retrace the Ojibwe migration through the U.S. and Canada. Plays in a web browser using a Mac, Windows or Chromebook.

PowerPoint Presentations

Below are PowerPoint slides based on the videos above as well as two, more concrete explanations. Find more resources at Fractions By Topic: PowerPoint and PDF.

What are Fractions? – If you want to start introducing fractions with the basics, check out this PowerPoint. What is a fraction? What’s a numerator? What’s a denominator?

Understanding Fractions – This presentation explains that a lake can be broken into four parts, called ‘quarters.’ The number of those parts in the shadow can be used to track how much time has passed. This PPT is from the video above.


Introducing Fractions with Snares and Rabbits – An example of fractions, with a young boy who is setting snares to catch rabbits. One-fourth can be the distance along a trail.

One-Half is Fair – What is one half? Why is it a good idea to divide something in half when two people need to share? This PPT goes with the video above.

What is Half? – When we discuss fractions, it isn’t always about dividing a thing, like a pizza. We can divide the work to be done in half, or the amount of distance being traveled. This PPT goes with the video above.

Fractions Videos

Introducing fractions – What is a fraction, anyway?

  • What is a Half? – An explanation of what is a half, using multiple examples from travel to shapes.
  • Is one-half fair? – How many times have you heard kids insist something wasn’t fair? This video uses fractions and the concept of one-half to determine if two people are doing the their fair share of the work, getting their fair share of a pile of blankets.

Comments (2)

  1. Pingback: Converting a fraction to equal 1 - Educational Resources for Grades 3-8

  2. Pingback: Equivalent Fractions: Lesson Plan - Educational Resources for Grades 3-8

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