# Equivalent Fractions

Feb 15, 2024One of the most important concepts for students to master when working with fractions is that of equivalent fractions. Being able to recognize and create equivalent fractions is a skill that is utilized at almost every level of mathematics.

Third graders begin exploring equivalent fractions by gaining an understanding of what they are and how to identify and generate them using area models and number lines. In 4th grade students build upon this knowledge as they learn new concepts such as how to generate equivalent fractions using multiplication, how to put a fraction in simplest form, and how to rename fractions with a common denominator. This cumulative knowledge of equivalent fractions is used again in 5th grade as students apply these skills to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions and will continue to be used in 6th grade math when working with ratios, proportions, decimals and percentages.

In algebra, geometry, and calculus, equivalent fractions serve as a fundamental tool for simplification, establishing relationships, and manipulating expressions involving fractions or ratios. They are used in various contexts to simplify calculations, solve equations, prove relationships between geometric shapes, and understand the behavior of functions and their derivatives.

Establishing a strong understanding of equivalent fractions and mastering foundational skills associated with them is crucial for future success in math. Unfortunately, many students only learn these skills from an operational perspective without ever conceptualizing what is actually happening, for example, when they put a fraction in simplest form or change two fractions so that they have a common denominator. Understanding and visualizing the underlying processes behind fraction operations distinguishes students who master fractions from those who simply get through them. Possessing this knowledge is key to relating and explaining operations with fractions within the different contexts of word problems, which is ultimately how most students’ fractions proficiency is assessed and measured in the classroom, state assessments and college entrance exams.

So how do you help your child or student make that leap with fractions from just following algorithms and performing operations with fractions to being able to know and explain *why* they are doing it? Understanding the *why* behind equivalent fractions is a good place to start. For students to be able to conceptualize all skills related to fractions, it is extremely helpful to first work with concrete like fraction strips.

We have created activity with fraction strips focused on understanding equivalent fractions to help get you started! This activity focuses on finding fractions equal to one-half, one-third, and two-thirds using fraction strips and includes:

- Fraction Strips lesson/activity in 2 formats:
- Google Slides

- Worksheet set (4 pages, 18 total problems)
- Fraction Strips PDF

Download yours today or visit our other resources to learn more about how to use fraction strips with your students.

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