Fractions

20 Visualize Fractions

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Understand the meaning of fractions
  • Model improper fractions and mixed numbers
  • Convert between improper fractions and mixed numbers
  • Model equivalent fractions
  • Find equivalent fractions
  • Locate fractions and mixed numbers on the number line
  • Order fractions and mixed numbers

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

  1. Simplify: 5·2+1.
    If you missed this problem, review (Figure).
  2. Fill in the blank with < or >:\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{−2}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}\text{−5}
    If you missed this problem, review (Figure).

Understand the Meaning of Fractions

Andy and Bobby love pizza. On Monday night, they share a pizza equally. How much of the pizza does each one get? Are you thinking that each boy gets half of the pizza? That’s right. There is one whole pizza, evenly divided into two parts, so each boy gets one of the two equal parts.

In math, we write \frac{1}{2} to mean one out of two parts.

An image of a round pizza sliced vertically down the center, creating two equal pieces. Each piece is labeled as one half.

On Tuesday, Andy and Bobby share a pizza with their parents, Fred and Christy, with each person getting an equal amount of the whole pizza. How much of the pizza does each person get? There is one whole pizza, divided evenly into four equal parts. Each person has one of the four equal parts, so each has \frac{1}{4} of the pizza.

An image of a round pizza sliced vertically and horizontally, creating four equal pieces. Each piece is labeled as one fourth.

On Wednesday, the family invites some friends over for a pizza dinner. There are a total of 12 people. If they share the pizza equally, each person would get \frac{1}{12} of the pizza.

An image of a round pizza sliced into twelve equal wedges. Each piece is labeled as one twelfth.

Fractions

A fraction is written \frac{a}{b}, where a and b are integers and b\ne 0. In a fraction, a is called the numerator and b is called the denominator.

A fraction is a way to represent parts of a whole. The denominator b represents the number of equal parts the whole has been divided into, and the numerator a represents how many parts are included. The denominator, b, cannot equal zero because division by zero is undefined.

In (Figure), the circle has been divided into three parts of equal size. Each part represents \frac{1}{3} of the circle. This type of model is called a fraction circle. Other shapes, such as rectangles, can also be used to model fractions.

A circle is divided into three equal wedges. Each piece is labeled as one third.
Doing the Manipulative Mathematics activity Model Fractions will help you develop a better understanding of fractions, their numerators and denominators.

What does the fraction \frac{2}{3} represent? The fraction \frac{2}{3} means two of three equal parts.

A circle is divided into three equal wedges. Two of the wedges are shaded.

Name the fraction of the shape that is shaded in each of the figures.

In part “a”, a circle is divided into eight equal wedges. Five of the wedges are shaded. In part “b”, a square is divided into nine equal pieces. Two of the pieces are shaded.

Solution

We need to ask two questions. First, how many equal parts are there? This will be the denominator. Second, of these equal parts, how many are shaded? This will be the numerator.


\begin{array}{cccc}\text{How many equal parts are there?}\hfill & & & \text{There are eight equal parts}\text{.}\hfill \\ \text{How many are shaded?}\hfill & & & \text{Five parts are shaded}\text{.}\hfill \end{array}

Five out of eight parts are shaded. Therefore, the fraction of the circle that is shaded is \frac{5}{8}.


\begin{array}{cccc}\text{How many equal parts are there?}\hfill & & & \text{There are nine equal parts}\text{.}\hfill \\ \text{How many are shaded?}\hfill & & & \text{Two parts are shaded}\text{.}\hfill \end{array}

Two out of nine parts are shaded. Therefore, the fraction of the square that is shaded is \frac{2}{9}.

Name the fraction of the shape that is shaded in each figure:

In part “a”, a circle is divided into eight equal wedges. Three of the wedges are shaded. In part “b”, a square is divided into nine equal pieces. Four of the pieces are shaded.

  1. \frac{3}{8}
  2. \frac{4}{9}

Name the fraction of the shape that is shaded in each figure:

In part “a”, a circle is divided into five equal wedges. Three of the wedges are shaded. In part “b”, a square is divided into four equal pieces. Three of the pieces are shaded.

  1. \frac{3}{5}
  2. \frac{3}{4}

Shade \frac{3}{4} of the circle.

An image of a circle.

Solution

The denominator is 4, so we divide the circle into four equal parts .

The numerator is 3, so we shade three of the four parts .

In “a”, a circle is shown divided into four equal pieces. An arrow points from “a” to “b”. In “b”, the same image is shown with three of the pieces shaded.

\frac{3}{4} of the circle is shaded.

Shade \frac{6}{8} of the circle.

A circle is divided into eight equal pieces.


A circle is shown divided into 8 pieces, of which 6 are shaded.

Shade \frac{2}{5} of the rectangle.

A rectangle is divided vertically into five equal pieces.


A rectangle is divided into 5 sections, of which 2 are shaded.

In (Figure) and (Figure), we used circles and rectangles to model fractions. Fractions can also be modeled as manipulatives called fraction tiles, as shown in (Figure). Here, the whole is modeled as one long, undivided rectangular tile. Beneath it are tiles of equal length divided into different numbers of equally sized parts.

One long, undivided rectangular tile is shown, labeled “1”. Below it is a rectangular tile of the same size and shape that has been divided vertically into two equal pieces, each labeled as one half. Below that is another rectangular tile that has been divided into three equal pieces, each labeled as one third. Below that is another rectangular tile that has been divided into four equal pieces, each labeled as one fourth. Below that is another rectangular tile that has been divided into six pieces, each labeled as one sixth.

We’ll be using fraction tiles to discover some basic facts about fractions. Refer to (Figure) to answer the following questions:

How many \frac{1}{2} tiles does it take to make one whole tile? It takes two halves to make a whole, so two out of two is \frac{2}{2}=1.
How many \frac{1}{3} tiles does it take to make one whole tile? It takes three thirds, so three out of three is \frac{3}{3}=1.
How many \frac{1}{4} tiles does it take to make one whole tile? It takes four fourths, so four out of four is \frac{4}{4}=1.
How many \frac{1}{6} tiles does it take to make one whole tile? It takes six sixths, so six out of six is \frac{6}{6}=1.
What if the whole were divided into 24 equal parts? (We have not shown fraction tiles to represent this, but try to visualize it in your mind.) How many \frac{1}{24} tiles does it take to make one whole tile? It takes 24 twenty-fourths, so \frac{24}{24}=1.

It takes 24 twenty-fourths, so \frac{24}{24}=1.

This leads us to the Property of One.

Property of One

Any number, except zero, divided by itself is one.

\frac{a}{a}=1\phantom{\rule{4em}{0ex}}\left(a\ne 0\right)
Doing the Manipulative Mathematics activity “Fractions Equivalent to One” will help you develop a better understanding of fractions that are equivalent to one

Use fraction circles to make wholes using the following pieces:

  1. 4 fourths
  2. 5 fifths
  3. 6 sixths
Solution

Three circles are shown. The circle on the left is divided into four equal pieces. The circle in the middle is divided into five equal pieces. The circle on the right is divided into six equal pieces. Each circle says “Form 1 whole” beneath it.

Use fraction circles to make wholes with the following pieces: 3 thirds.


A circle is shown. It is divided into 3 equal pieces. All 3 pieces are shaded.

Use fraction circles to make wholes with the following pieces: 8 eighths.


A circle is divided into 8 sections, of which all are shaded.

What if we have more fraction pieces than we need for 1 whole? We’ll look at this in the next example.

Use fraction circles to make wholes using the following pieces:

  1. 3 halves
  2. 8 fifths
  3. 7 thirds
Solution

3 halves make 1 whole with 1 half left over.

Two circles are shown, both divided into two equal pieces. The circle on the left has both pieces shaded and is labeled as “1”. The circle on the right has one piece shaded and is labeled as one half.

8 fifths make 1 whole with 3 fifths left over.

Two circles are shown, both divided into five equal pieces. The circle on the left has all five pieces shaded and is labeled as “1”. The circle on the right has three pieces shaded and is labeled as three fifths.

7 thirds make 2 wholes with 1 third left over.

Three circles are shown, all divided into three equal pieces. The two circles on the left have all three pieces shaded and are labeled with ones. The circle on the right has one piece shaded and is labeled as one third.

Use fraction circles to make wholes with the following pieces: 5 thirds.


Two circles are shown. Each is divided into three sections. All of the first circle is shaded. 2 out of 3 sections of the second circle are shaded.

Use fraction circles to make wholes with the following pieces: 5 halves.


Three circles are shown. Each is divided into two sections. The first two circles are completely shaded. Half of the third circle is shaded.

Model Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers

In (Figure) (b), you had eight equal fifth pieces. You used five of them to make one whole, and you had three fifths left over. Let us use fraction notation to show what happened. You had eight pieces, each of them one fifth, \frac{1}{5}, so altogether you had eight fifths, which we can write as \frac{8}{5}. The fraction \frac{8}{5} is one whole, 1, plus three fifths, \frac{3}{5}, or 1\frac{3}{5}, which is read as one and three-fifths.

The number 1\frac{3}{5} is called a mixed number. A mixed number consists of a whole number and a fraction.

Mixed Numbers

A mixed number consists of a whole number a and a fraction \frac{b}{c} where c\ne 0. It is written as follows.

a\frac{b}{c}\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}c\ne 0

Fractions such as \frac{5}{4},\frac{3}{2},\frac{5}{5}, and \frac{7}{3} are called improper fractions. In an improper fraction, the numerator is greater than or equal to the denominator, so its value is greater than or equal to one. When a fraction has a numerator that is smaller than the denominator, it is called a proper fraction, and its value is less than one. Fractions such as \frac{1}{2},\frac{3}{7}, and \frac{11}{18} are proper fractions.

Proper and Improper Fractions

The fraction \frac{a}{b} is a proper fraction if a<b and an improper fraction if a\ge b.

Doing the Manipulative Mathematics activity “Model Improper Fractions” and “Mixed Numbers” will help you develop a better understanding of how to convert between improper fractions and mixed numbers.

Name the improper fraction modeled. Then write the improper fraction as a mixed number.

Two circles are shown, both divided into three equal pieces. The circle on the left has all three pieces shaded. The circle on the right has one piece shaded.

Solution

Each circle is divided into three pieces, so each piece is \frac{1}{3} of the circle. There are four pieces shaded, so there are four thirds or \frac{4}{3}. The figure shows that we also have one whole circle and one third, which is 1\frac{1}{3}. So, \frac{4}{3}=1\frac{1}{3}.

Name the improper fraction. Then write it as a mixed number.

Two circles are shown, both divided into three equal pieces. The circle on the left has all three pieces shaded. The circle on the right has two pieces shaded.

\frac{5}{3}=1\frac{2}{3}

Name the improper fraction. Then write it as a mixed number.

Two circles are shown, both divided into eight equal pieces. The circle on the left has all eight pieces shaded. The circle on the right has five pieces shaded.

\frac{13}{8}=1\frac{5}{8}

Draw a figure to model \frac{11}{8}.

Solution

The denominator of the improper fraction is 8. Draw a circle divided into eight pieces and shade all of them. This takes care of eight eighths, but we have 11 eighths. We must shade three of the eight parts of another circle.

Two circles are shown, both divided into eight equal pieces. The circle on the left has all eight pieces shaded and is labeled as eight eighths. The circle on the right has three pieces shaded and is labeled as three eighths. The diagram indicates that eight eighths plus three eighths is one plus three eighths.

So, \frac{11}{8}=1\frac{3}{8}.

Draw a figure to model \frac{7}{6}.


Two circles are shown. Each is divided into six sections. All of the first circle is shaded and one section of the second circle is shaded.

Draw a figure to model \frac{6}{5}.


Two circles are shown. Each is divided into five sections. All of the first circle is shaded and one section of the second circle is shaded.

Use a model to rewrite the improper fraction \frac{11}{6} as a mixed number.

Solution

We start with 11 sixths \left(\frac{11}{6}\right). We know that six sixths makes one whole.

\frac{6}{6}=1

That leaves us with five more sixths, which is \frac{5}{6}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\left(11\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{sixths minus}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}6\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{sixths is}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}5\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{sixths}\right).

So, \frac{11}{6}=1\frac{5}{6}.

Two circles are shown, both divided into six equal pieces. The circle on the left has all six pieces shaded and is labeled as six sixths. The circle on the right has five pieces shaded and is labeled as five sixths. Below the circles, it says one plus five sixths, then six sixths plus five sixths equals eleven sixths, and one plus five sixths equals one and five sixths. It then says that eleven sixths equals one and five sixths.

Use a model to rewrite the improper fraction as a mixed number: \frac{9}{7}.

1\frac{2}{7}

Use a model to rewrite the improper fraction as a mixed number: \frac{7}{4}.

1\frac{3}{4}

Use a model to rewrite the mixed number 1\frac{4}{5} as an improper fraction.

Solution

The mixed number 1\frac{4}{5} means one whole plus four fifths. The denominator is 5, so the whole is \frac{5}{5}. Together five fifths and four fifths equals nine fifths.

So, 1\frac{4}{5}=\frac{9}{5}.

Two circles are shown, both divided into five equal pieces. The circle on the left has all five pieces shaded and is labeled as 5 fifths. The circle on the right has four pieces shaded and is labeled as 4 fifths. It then says that 5 fifths plus 4 fifths equals 9 fifths and that 9 fifths is equal to one plus 4 fifths.

Use a model to rewrite the mixed number as an improper fraction: 1\frac{3}{8}.

\frac{11}{8}

Use a model to rewrite the mixed number as an improper fraction: 1\frac{5}{6}.

\frac{11}{6}

Convert between Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers

In (Figure), we converted the improper fraction \frac{11}{6} to the mixed number 1\frac{5}{6} using fraction circles. We did this by grouping six sixths together to make a whole; then we looked to see how many of the 11 pieces were left. We saw that \frac{11}{6} made one whole group of six sixths plus five more sixths, showing that \frac{11}{6}=1\frac{5}{6}.

The division expression \frac{11}{6} (which can also be written as 6\overline{)11}) tells us to find how many groups of 6 are in 11. To convert an improper fraction to a mixed number without fraction circles, we divide.

Convert \frac{11}{6} to a mixed number.

Solution
\frac{11}{6}
Divide the denominator into the numerator. Remember \frac{11}{6} means 11÷6.
.
Identify the quotient, remainder and divisor.
Write the mixed number as \text{quotient}\phantom{\rule{0.1em}{0ex}}\frac{\text{remainder}}{\text{divisor}}. 1\frac{5}{6}
So, \frac{11}{6}=1\frac{5}{6}

Convert the improper fraction to a mixed number: \frac{13}{7}.

1\frac{6}{7}.

Convert the improper fraction to a mixed number: \frac{14}{9}.

1\frac{5}{9}

Convert an improper fraction to a mixed number.
  1. Divide the denominator into the numerator.
  2. Identify the quotient, remainder, and divisor.
  3. Write the mixed number as quotient \frac{\text{remainder}}{\text{divisor}}.

Convert the improper fraction \frac{33}{8} to a mixed number.

Solution
\frac{33}{8}
Divide the denominator into the numerator. Remember, \frac{33}{8} means 8\overline{)33}.
Identify the quotient, remainder, and divisor. .
Write the mixed number as quotient \frac{\text{remainder}}{\text{divisor}}. 4\frac{1}{8}
So, \frac{33}{8}=4\frac{1}{8}

Convert the improper fraction to a mixed number: \frac{23}{7}.

3\frac{2}{7}

Convert the improper fraction to a mixed number: \frac{48}{11}.

4\frac{4}{11}

In (Figure), we changed 1\frac{4}{5} to an improper fraction by first seeing that the whole is a set of five fifths. So we had five fifths and four more fifths.

\frac{5}{5}+\frac{4}{5}=\frac{9}{5}

Where did the nine come from? There are nine fifths—one whole (five fifths) plus four fifths. Let us use this idea to see how to convert a mixed number to an improper fraction.

Convert the mixed number 4\frac{2}{3} to an improper fraction.

Solution
4\frac{2}{3}
Multiply the whole number by the denominator.
The whole number is 4 and the denominator is 3. .
Simplify. .
Add the numerator to the product.
The numerator of the mixed number is 2. .
Simplify. .
Write the final sum over the original denominator.
The denominator is 3. \frac{14}{3}

Convert the mixed number to an improper fraction: 3\frac{5}{7}.

\frac{26}{7}

Convert the mixed number to an improper fraction: 2\frac{7}{8}.

\frac{23}{8}

Convert a mixed number to an improper fraction.
  1. Multiply the whole number by the denominator.
  2. Add the numerator to the product found in Step 1.
  3. Write the final sum over the original denominator.

Convert the mixed number 10\frac{2}{7} to an improper fraction.

Solution
10\frac{2}{7}
Multiply the whole number by the denominator.
The whole number is 10 and the denominator is 7. .
Simplify. .
Add the numerator to the product.
The numerator of the mixed number is 2. .
Simplify. .
Write the final sum over the original denominator.
The denominator is 7. \frac{72}{7}

Convert the mixed number to an improper fraction: 4\frac{6}{11}.

\frac{50}{11}

Convert the mixed number to an improper fraction: 11\frac{1}{3}.

\frac{34}{3}

Model Equivalent Fractions

Let’s think about Andy and Bobby and their favorite food again. If Andy eats \frac{1}{2} of a pizza and Bobby eats \frac{2}{4} of the pizza, have they eaten the same amount of pizza? In other words, does \frac{1}{2}=\frac{2}{4}? We can use fraction tiles to find out whether Andy and Bobby have eaten equivalent parts of the pizza.

Equivalent Fractions

Equivalent fractions are fractions that have the same value.

Fraction tiles serve as a useful model of equivalent fractions. You may want to use fraction tiles to do the following activity. Or you might make a copy of (Figure) and extend it to include eighths, tenths, and twelfths.

Start with a \frac{1}{2} tile. How many fourths equal one-half? How many of the \frac{1}{4} tiles exactly cover the \frac{1}{2} tile?

One long, undivided rectangle is shown. Below it is a rectangle divided vertically into two pieces, each labeled as one half. Below that is a rectangle divided vertically into four pieces, each labeled as one fourth.

Since two \frac{1}{4} tiles cover the \frac{1}{2} tile, we see that \frac{2}{4} is the same as \frac{1}{2}, or \frac{2}{4}=\frac{1}{2}.

How many of the \frac{1}{6} tiles cover the \frac{1}{2} tile?

One long, undivided rectangle is shown. Below it is a rectangle divided vertically into two pieces, each labeled as one half. Below that is a rectangle divided vertically into six pieces, each labeled as one sixth.

Since three \frac{1}{6} tiles cover the \frac{1}{2} tile, we see that \frac{3}{6} is the same as \frac{1}{2}.

So, \frac{3}{6}=\frac{1}{2}. The fractions are equivalent fractions.

Doing the activity “Equivalent Fractions” will help you develop a better understanding of what it means when two fractions are equivalent.

Use fraction tiles to find equivalent fractions. Show your result with a figure.

  1. How many eighths equal one-half?
  2. How many tenths equal one-half?
  3. How many twelfths equal one-half?
Solution

It takes four \frac{1}{8} tiles to exactly cover the \frac{1}{2} tile, so \frac{4}{8}=\frac{1}{2}.

One long, undivided rectangle is shown, labeled 1. Below it is an identical rectangle divided vertically into two pieces, each labeled 1 half. Below that is an identical rectangle divided vertically into eight pieces, each labeled 1 eighth.

It takes five \frac{1}{10} tiles to exactly cover the \frac{1}{2} tile, so \frac{5}{10}=\frac{1}{2}.

One long, undivided rectangle is shown. Below it is a rectangle divided vertically into two pieces, each labeled as one half. Below that is a rectangle divided vertically into ten pieces, each labeled as one tenth.

It takes six \frac{1}{12} tiles to exactly cover the \frac{1}{2} tile, so \frac{6}{12}=\frac{1}{2}.

One long, undivided rectangle is shown. Below it is a rectangle divided vertically into two pieces, each labeled as one half. Below that is a rectangle divided vertically into twelve pieces, each labeled as one twelfth.

Suppose you had tiles marked \frac{1}{20}. How many of them would it take to equal \frac{1}{2}? Are you thinking ten tiles? If you are, you’re right, because \frac{10}{20}=\frac{1}{2}.

We have shown that \frac{1}{2},\frac{2}{4},\frac{3}{6},\frac{4}{8},\frac{5}{10},\frac{6}{12}, and \frac{10}{20} are all equivalent fractions.

Use fraction tiles to find equivalent fractions: How many eighths equal one-fourth?

2

Use fraction tiles to find equivalent fractions: How many twelfths equal one-fourth?

3

Find Equivalent Fractions

We used fraction tiles to show that there are many fractions equivalent to \frac{1}{2}. For example, \frac{2}{4},\frac{3}{6}, and \frac{4}{8} are all equivalent to \frac{1}{2}. When we lined up the fraction tiles, it took four of the \frac{1}{8} tiles to make the same length as a \frac{1}{2} tile. This showed that \frac{4}{8}=\frac{1}{2}. See (Figure).

We can show this with pizzas, too. (Figure)(a) shows a single pizza, cut into two equal pieces with \frac{1}{2} shaded. (Figure)(b) shows a second pizza of the same size, cut into eight pieces with \frac{4}{8} shaded.

Two pizzas are shown. The pizza on the left is divided into 2 equal pieces. 1 piece is shaded. The pizza on the right is divided into 8 equal pieces. 4 pieces are shaded.

This is another way to show that \frac{1}{2} is equivalent to \frac{4}{8}.

How can we use mathematics to change \frac{1}{2} into \frac{4}{8}? How could you take a pizza that is cut into two pieces and cut it into eight pieces? You could cut each of the two larger pieces into four smaller pieces! The whole pizza would then be cut into eight pieces instead of just two. Mathematically, what we’ve described could be written as:

1 times 4 over 2 times 4 is written with the 4s in red. This is set equal to 4 over 8.

These models lead to the Equivalent Fractions Property, which states that if we multiply the numerator and denominator of a fraction by the same number, the value of the fraction does not change.

Equivalent Fractions Property

If a,b, and c are numbers where b\ne 0 and c\ne 0, then

\frac{a}{b}=\frac{a·c}{b·c}

When working with fractions, it is often necessary to express the same fraction in different forms. To find equivalent forms of a fraction, we can use the Equivalent Fractions Property. For example, consider the fraction one-half.

The top line says that 1 times 3 over 2 times 3 equals 3 over 6, so one half equals 3 sixths. The next line says that 1 times 2 over 2 times 2 equals 2 over 4, so one half equals 2 fourths. The last line says that 1 times 10 over 2 times 10 equals 10 over 20, so one half equals 10 twentieths.

So, we say that \frac{1}{2},\frac{2}{4},\frac{3}{6}, and \frac{10}{20} are equivalent fractions.

Find three fractions equivalent to \frac{2}{5}.

Solution

To find a fraction equivalent to \frac{2}{5}, we multiply the numerator and denominator by the same number (but not zero). Let us multiply them by 2,3, and 5.

On the left, we see that 2 times 2 over 5 times 2 equals 4 over 10. In the middle, we see that 2 times 3 over 5 times 3 equals 6 over 15. On the right, we see that 2 times 5 over 5 times 5 equals 10 over 25.

So, \frac{4}{10},\frac{6}{15}, and \frac{10}{25} are equivalent to \frac{2}{5}.

Find three fractions equivalent to \frac{3}{5}.

Correct answers include \frac{6}{10},\frac{9}{15},\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\frac{12}{20}.

Find three fractions equivalent to \frac{4}{5}.

Correct answers include \frac{8}{10},\frac{12}{15},\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\frac{16}{20}.

Find a fraction with a denominator of 21 that is equivalent to \frac{2}{7}.

Solution

To find equivalent fractions, we multiply the numerator and denominator by the same number. In this case, we need to multiply the denominator by a number that will result in 21.

Since we can multiply 7 by 3 to get 21, we can find the equivalent fraction by multiplying both the numerator and denominator by 3.

2 over 7 equals 2 time 3 over 7 times 3. The 3s are shown in red. This is set equal to 6 over 21.

Find a fraction with a denominator of 21 that is equivalent to \frac{6}{7}.

\frac{18}{21}

Find a fraction with a denominator of 100 that is equivalent to \frac{3}{10}.

\frac{30}{100}

Locate Fractions and Mixed Numbers on the Number Line

Now we are ready to plot fractions on a number line. This will help us visualize fractions and understand their values.

Doing the Manipulative Mathematics activity “Number Line Part 3” will help you develop a better understanding of the location of fractions on the number line.

Let us locate \frac{1}{5},\frac{4}{5},3,3\frac{1}{3},\frac{7}{4},\frac{9}{2},5, and \frac{8}{3} on the number line.

We will start with the whole numbers 3 and 5 because they are the easiest to plot.

A number line is shown with the numbers 3, 4, and 5. There are red dots at 3 and at 5.

The proper fractions listed are \frac{1}{5} and \frac{4}{5}. We know proper fractions have values less than one, so \frac{1}{5} and \frac{4}{5} are located between the whole numbers 0 and 1. The denominators are both 5, so we need to divide the segment of the number line between 0 and 1 into five equal parts. We can do this by drawing four equally spaced marks on the number line, which we can then label as \frac{1}{5},\frac{2}{5},\frac{3}{5}, and \frac{4}{5}.

Now plot points at \frac{1}{5} and \frac{4}{5}.

A number line is shown. It shows 0, 1 fifth, 2 fifths, 3 fifths, 4 fifths, and 1. There are red dots at 1 fifth and at 4 fifths.

The only mixed number to plot is 3\frac{1}{3}. Between what two whole numbers is 3\frac{1}{3}? Remember that a mixed number is a whole number plus a proper fraction, so 3\frac{1}{3}>3. Since it is greater than 3, but not a whole unit greater, 3\frac{1}{3} is between 3 and 4. We need to divide the portion of the number line between 3 and 4 into three equal pieces (thirds) and plot 3\frac{1}{3} at the first mark.

A number line is shown with whole number 0 through 5. Between 3 and 4, 3 and 1 third and 3 and 2 thirds are labeled. There is a red dot at 3 and 1 third.

Finally, look at the improper fractions \frac{7}{4},\frac{9}{2}, and \frac{8}{3}. Locating these points will be easier if you change each of them to a mixed number.

\frac{7}{4}=1\frac{3}{4},\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}\frac{9}{2}=4\frac{1}{2},\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}\frac{8}{3}=2\frac{2}{3}

Here is the number line with all the points plotted.

A number line is shown with whole numbers 0 through 6. Between 0 and 1, 1 fifth and 4 fifths are labeled and shown with red dots. Between 1 and 2, 7 fourths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 8 thirds is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 3 and 4, 3 and 1 third is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 4 and 5, 9 halves is labeled and shown with a red dot.

Locate and label the following on a number line: \frac{3}{4},\frac{4}{3},\frac{5}{3},4\frac{1}{5}, and \frac{7}{2}.

Solution

Start by locating the proper fraction \frac{3}{4}. It is between 0 and 1. To do this, divide the distance between 0 and 1 into four equal parts. Then plot \frac{3}{4}.

A number line is shown. It shows 0, 1 fourth, 2 fourths, 3 fourths, and 1. There is a red dot at 3 fourths.

Next, locate the mixed number 4\frac{1}{5}. It is between 4 and 5 on the number line. Divide the number line between 4 and 5 into five equal parts, and then plot 4\frac{1}{5} one-fifth of the way between 4 and 5.

A number line is shown. It shows 4, 4 and 1 fifth, 4 and 2 fifths, 4 and 3 fifths, 4 and 4 fifths, and 5. There is a red dot at 4 and 1 fifth.

Now locate the improper fractions \frac{4}{3} and \frac{5}{3}.

It is easier to plot them if we convert them to mixed numbers first.

\frac{4}{3}=1\frac{1}{3},\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}\frac{5}{3}=1\frac{2}{3}

Divide the distance between 1 and 2 into thirds.

A number line is shown. It shows 1, 1 and 1 third, 1 and 2 thirds, and 2. Below 1 it says 3 thirds. Below 1 and 1 third it says 4 thirds. Below 1 and 2 thirds it says 5 thirds. Below 2 it says 6 thirds. There are red dots at 1 and 1 third and 1 and 2 thirds.

Next let us plot \frac{7}{2}. We write it as a mixed number, \frac{7}{2}=3\frac{1}{2}. Plot it between 3 and 4.

A number line is shown. It shows 3, 3 and 1 half, and 4. Below 3 it says 6 halves. Below 3 and 1 half it says 7 halves. Below 4 it says 8 halves. There is a red dot at 3 and 1 half.

The number line shows all the numbers located on the number line.

A number line is shown. It shows the whole numbers 0 through 5. Between any 2 numbers are 10 tick marks. Between 0 and 1, between the 7th and 8th tick mark, 3 fourths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 4 thirds and 5 thirds are labeled and shown with red dots. Between 3 and 4, 7 halves is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 4 and 5, 4 and 1 fifth is labeled and shown with a red dot.

Locate and label the following on a number line: \frac{1}{3},\frac{5}{4},\frac{7}{4},2\frac{3}{5},\frac{9}{2}.


A number line is shown. It shows the whole numbers 0 through 6. Between 0 and 1, 1 third is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 5 fourths and 7 fourths are labeled and shown with red dots. Between 2 and 3, 2 and 3 fifths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 4 and 5, 9 halves is labeled and shown with a red dot.

Locate and label the following on a number line: \frac{2}{3},\frac{5}{2},\frac{9}{4},\frac{11}{4},3\frac{2}{5}.


A number line is shown. It shows the whole numbers 0 through 6. Between 0 and 1, 2 thirds is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 9 fourths, 5 halves, and 11 fourths are labeled and shown with red dots. Between 3 and 4, 3 and 2 fifths is labeled and shown with a red dot.

In Introduction to Integers, we defined the opposite of a number. It is the number that is the same distance from zero on the number line but on the opposite side of zero. We saw, for example, that the opposite of 7 is -7 and the opposite of -7 is 7.

A number line is shown. It shows the numbers negative 7, 0 and 7. There are red dots at negative 7 and 7. The space between negative 7 and 0 is labeled as 7 units. The space between 0 and 7 is labeled as 7 units.

Fractions have opposites, too. The opposite of \frac{3}{4} is -\frac{3}{4}. It is the same distance from 0 on the number line, but on the opposite side of 0.

A number line is shown. It shows the numbers negative 1, negative 3 fourths, 0, 3 fourths, and 1. There are red dots at negative 3 fourths and 3 fourths. The space between negative 3 fourths and 0 is labeled as 3 fourths of a unit. The space between 0 and 3 fourths is labeled as 3 fourths of a unit.

Thinking of negative fractions as the opposite of positive fractions will help us locate them on the number line. To locate -\frac{15}{8} on the number line, first think of where \frac{15}{8} is located. It is an improper fraction, so we first convert it to the mixed number 1\frac{7}{8} and see that it will be between 1 and 2 on the number line. So its opposite, -\frac{15}{8}, will be between -1 and -2 on the number line.

A number line is shown. It shows the numbers negative 2, negative 1, 0, 1, and 2. Between negative 2 and negative 1, negative 1 and 7 eighths is labeled and marked with a red dot. The distance between negative 1 and 7 eighths and 0 is marked as 15 eighths units. Between 1 and 2, 1 and 7 eighths is labeled and marked with a red dot. The distance between 0 and 1 and 7 eighths is marked as 15 eighths units.

Locate and label the following on the number line: \frac{1}{4},-\frac{1}{4},1\frac{1}{3},-1\frac{1}{3},\frac{5}{2}, and -\frac{5}{2}.

Solution

Draw a number line. Mark 0 in the middle and then mark several units to the left and right.

To locate \frac{1}{4}, divide the interval between 0 and 1 into four equal parts. Each part represents one-quarter of the distance. So plot \frac{1}{4} at the first mark.

A number line is shown. It shows the numbers negative 4, negative 3, negative 2, negative 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. There are 4 tick marks between negative 1 and 0. There are 4 tick marks between 0 and 1. The first tick mark between 0 and 1 is labeled as 1 fourth and marked with a red dot.

To locate -\frac{1}{4}, divide the interval between 0 and -1 into four equal parts. Plot -\frac{1}{4} at the first mark to the left of 0.

A number line is shown. It shows the numbers negative 4, negative 3, negative 2, negative 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. There are 4 tick marks between negative 1 and 0. There are 4 tick marks between 0 and 1. The first tick mark between 0 and 1 is labeled as 1 fourth and marked with a red dot. The first tick mark between 0 and negative 1 is labeled as negative 1 fourth and marked with a red dot.

Since 1\frac{1}{3} is between 1 and 2, divide the interval between 1 and 2 into three equal parts. Plot 1\frac{1}{3} at the first mark to the right of 1. Then since -1\frac{1}{3} is the opposite of 1\frac{1}{3} it is between -1 and -2. Divide the interval between -1 and -2 into three equal parts. Plot -1\frac{1}{3} at the first mark to the left of -1.

A number line is shown. The integers from negative 2 to 2 are labeled. Between negative 2 and negative 1, negative 1 and 1 third is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 1 and 1 third is labeled and marked with a red dot.

To locate \frac{5}{2} and -\frac{5}{2}, it may be helpful to rewrite them as the mixed numbers 2\frac{1}{2} and -2\frac{1}{2}.

Since 2\frac{1}{2} is between 2 and 3, divide the interval between 2 and 3 into two equal parts. Plot \frac{5}{2} at the mark. Then since -2\frac{1}{2} is between -2 and -3, divide the interval between -2 and -3 into two equal parts. Plot -\frac{5}{2} at the mark.

A number line is shown. The integers from negative 4 to 4 are labeled. Between negative 3 and negative 2, negative 5 halves is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 5 halves is labeled and marked with a red dot.

Locate and label each of the given fractions on a number line:

\frac{2}{3},-\frac{2}{3},2\frac{1}{4},-2\frac{1}{4},\frac{3}{2},-\frac{3}{2}


A number line is shown. The integers from negative 5 to 5 are labeled. Between negative 3 and negative 2, negative 2 and 1 fourth is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between negative 2 and negative 1, negative 3 halves is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between negative 1 and 0, negative 2 thirds is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 0 and 1, 2 thirds is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 3 halves is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 2 and 1 fourth is labeled and marked with a red dot.

Locate and label each of the given fractions on a number line:

\frac{3}{4},-\frac{3}{4},1\frac{1}{2},-1\frac{1}{2},\frac{7}{3},-\frac{7}{3}


A number line is shown. The integers from negative 5 to 5 are labeled. Between negative 3 and negative 2, negative 7 thirds is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between negative 2 and negative 1, negative 1 and 1 half is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between negative 1 and 0, negative 3 fourths is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 0 and 1, 3 fourths is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 1 and 1 half is labeled and marked with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 7 thirds is labeled and marked with a red dot.

Order Fractions and Mixed Numbers

We can use the inequality symbols to order fractions. Remember that a>b means that a is to the right of b on the number line. As we move from left to right on a number line, the values increase.

Order each of the following pairs of numbers, using < or >:

  1. -\frac{2}{3}____-1
  2. -3\frac{1}{2}____-3
  3. -\frac{3}{7}____-\frac{3}{8}
  4. -2____\frac{-16}{9}
Solution

-\frac{2}{3}>-1

A number line is shown. The integers from negative 3 to 3 are labeled. Negative 1 is marked with a red dot. Between negative 1 and 0, negative 2 thirds is labeled and marked with a red dot.

-3\frac{1}{2}<-3

A number line is shown. The integers from negative 4 to 4 are labeled. There is a red dot at negative 3. Between negative 4 and negative 3, negative 3 and one half is labeled and marked with a red dot.

-\frac{3}{7}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{<}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}-\frac{3}{8}

A number line is shown. The numbers negative 3, negative 2, negative 1, 0, 1, 2, and 3 are labeled. Between negative 1 and 0, negative 3 sevenths and negative 3 eighths are labeled and marked with red dots.

-2<\frac{-16}{9}

A number line is shown. The numbers negative 3, negative 2, negative 1, 0, 1, 2, and 3 are labeled. There is a red dot at negative 2. Between negative 2 and negative 1, negative 16 over 9 is labeled and marked with a red dot.

Order each of the following pairs of numbers, using < or >:

  1. -\frac{1}{3}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-1
  2. -1\frac{1}{2}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-2
  3. -\frac{2}{3}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{1}{3}
  4. -3\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{7}{3}
  1. >
  2. >
  3. <
  4. <

Order each of the following pairs of numbers, using < or >:

  1. -3__-\frac{17}{5}
  2. -2\frac{1}{4}__-2
  3. -\frac{3}{5}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{4}{5}
  4. -4\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{10}{3}
  1. >
  2. <
  3. >
  4. <

Key Concepts

  • Property of One
    • Any number, except zero, divided by itself is one.
      \frac{a}{a}=1, where a\ne 0.
  • Mixed Numbers
    • A mixed number consists of a whole number a and a fraction \frac{b}{c} where c\ne 0.
    • It is written as follows: a\frac{b}{c}\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}c\ne 0
  • Proper and Improper Fractions
    • The fraction ab is a proper fraction if a<b and an improper fraction if a\ge b.
  • Convert an improper fraction to a mixed number.
    1. Divide the denominator into the numerator.
    2. Identify the quotient, remainder, and divisor.
    3. Write the mixed number as quotient\frac{\text{remainder}}{\text{divisor}}.
  • Convert a mixed number to an improper fraction.
    1. Multiply the whole number by the denominator.
    2. Add the numerator to the product found in Step 1.
    3. Write the final sum over the original denominator.
  • Equivalent Fractions Property
    • If \mathrm{a, b,} and c are numbers where b\ne 0, c\ne 0, then \frac{a}{b}=\frac{a\cdot c}{b\cdot c}.

Practice Makes Perfect

In the following exercises, name the fraction of each figure that is shaded.

In part “a”, a circle is divided into 4 equal pieces. 1 piece is shaded. In part “b”, a circle is divided into 4 equal pieces. 3 pieces are shaded. In part “c”, a circle is divided into 8 equal pieces. 3 pieces are shaded. In part “d”, a circle is divided into 8 equal pieces. 5 pieces are shaded.
  1. \frac{1}{4}
  2. \frac{3}{4}
  3. \frac{3}{8}
  4. \frac{5}{9}
In part “a”, a circle is divided into 12 equal pieces. 7 pieces are shaded. In part “b”, a circle is divided into 12 equal pieces. 5 pieces are shaded. In part “c”, a square is divided into 9 equal pieces. 4 of the pieces are shaded. In part “d”, a square is divided into 9 equal pieces. 5 pieces are shaded.

In the following exercises, shade parts of circles or squares to model the following fractions.

\frac{1}{2}


A circle is shown. It is divided into 2 equal pieces. 1 piece is shaded.

\frac{1}{3}

\frac{3}{4}


A circle is shown. It is divided into 4 equal pieces. 3 pieces are shaded.

\frac{2}{5}

\frac{5}{6}


A circle is shown. It is divided into 6 equal pieces. 5 pieces are shaded.

\frac{7}{8}

\frac{5}{8}


A circle is shown. It is divided into 8 equal pieces. 5 pieces are shaded.

\frac{7}{10}

In the following exercises, use fraction circles to make wholes, if possible, with the following pieces.

3 thirds


A circle is shown. It is divided into 3 equal pieces. All 3 pieces are shaded.

8 eighths

7 sixths


Two circles are shown. Each is divided into 6 equal pieces. All 6 pieces are shaded in the circle on the left. 1 piece is shaded in the circle on the right.

4 thirds

7 fifths


Two circles are shown. Each is divided into 5 equal pieces. All 5 pieces are shaded in the circle on the left. 2 pieces are shaded in the circle on the right.

7 fourths

In the following exercises, name the improper fractions. Then write each improper fraction as a mixed number.

In part “a”, two circles are shown. Each is divided into 4 equal pieces. The circle on the left has all 4 pieces shaded. The circle on the right has 1 piece shaded. In part “b”, two circles are shown. Each is divided into 4 equal pieces. The circle on the left has all 4 pieces shaded. The circle on the right has 3 pieces shaded. In part “c”, two circles are shown. Each is divided into 8 equal pieces. The circle on the left has all 8 pieces shaded. The circle on the right has 3 pieces shaded.
  1. \frac{5}{4}=1\frac{1}{4}
  2. \frac{7}{4}=1\frac{3}{4}
  3. \frac{11}{8}=1\frac{3}{8}
In part “a”, 2 circles are shown. Each is divided into 8 equal pieces. The circle on the left has all 8 pieces shaded. The circle on the right has 1 piece shaded. In part “b”, two squares are shown. Each is divided into 4 equal pieces. The square on the left has all 4 pieces shaded. The circle on the right has 1 piece shaded. In part “c”, two squares are shown. Each is divided into 9 equal pieces. The square on the left has all 9 pieces shaded. The square on the right has 2 pieces shaded.
In part “a”, 3 circles are shown. Each is divided into 4 equal pieces. The first two circles have all 4 pieces shaded. The third circle has 3 pieces shaded. In part “b”, 3 circles are shown. Each is divided into 8 equal pieces. The first two circles have all 8 pieces shaded. The third circle has 3 pieces shaded.
  1. \frac{11}{4}=2\frac{3}{4}
  2. \frac{19}{8}=2\frac{3}{8}

In the following exercises, draw fraction circles to model the given fraction.

\frac{3}{3}

\frac{4}{4}


A circle is shown. It is divided into 4 equal pieces. All 4 pieces are shaded.

\frac{7}{4}

\frac{5}{3}


Two circles are shown. Each is divided into 3 equal pieces. All 3 pieces are shaded in the circle on the left. 2 pieces are shaded in the circle on the right.

\frac{11}{6}

\frac{13}{8}


Two circles are shown. Each is divided into 8 equal pieces. All 8 pieces are shaded in the circle on the left. 5 pieces are shaded in the circle on the right.

\frac{10}{3}

\frac{9}{4}


Three circles are shown. Each is divided into 4 equal pieces. All 4 pieces are shaded in the two circles on the left. 1 piece is shaded in the circle on the right.

In the following exercises, rewrite the improper fraction as a mixed number.

\frac{3}{2}

\frac{5}{3}

1\frac{2}{3}

\frac{11}{4}

\frac{13}{5}

2\frac{3}{5}

\frac{25}{6}

\frac{28}{9}

3\frac{1}{9}

\frac{42}{13}

\frac{47}{15}

3\frac{2}{15}

In the following exercises, rewrite the mixed number as an improper fraction.

1\frac{2}{3}

1\frac{2}{5}

\frac{7}{5}

2\frac{1}{4}

2\frac{5}{6}

\frac{17}{6}

2\frac{7}{9}

2\frac{5}{7}

\frac{19}{7}

3\frac{4}{7}

3\frac{5}{9}

\frac{32}{9}

In the following exercises, use fraction tiles or draw a figure to find equivalent fractions.

How many sixths equal one-third?

How many twelfths equal one-third?

4

How many eighths equal three-fourths?

How many twelfths equal three-fourths?

9

How many fourths equal three-halves?

How many sixths equal three-halves?

9

In the following exercises, find three fractions equivalent to the given fraction. Show your work, using figures or algebra.

\frac{1}{4}

\frac{1}{3}

Answers may vary. Correct answers include \frac{2}{6},\frac{3}{9},\frac{4}{12}.

\frac{3}{8}

\frac{5}{6}

Answers may vary. Correct answers include \frac{10}{12},\frac{15}{18},\frac{20}{24}.

\frac{2}{7}

\frac{5}{9}

Answers may vary. Correct answers include \frac{10}{18},\frac{15}{27},\frac{20}{36}.

In the following exercises, plot the numbers on a number line.

\frac{2}{3},\frac{5}{4},\frac{12}{5}

\frac{1}{3},\frac{7}{4},\frac{13}{5}


A number line is shown. The numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are labeled. Between 0 and 1, 1 third is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 7 fourths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 13 fifths is labeled and shown with a red dot.

\frac{1}{4},\frac{9}{5},\frac{11}{3}

\frac{7}{10},\frac{5}{2},\frac{13}{8},3


A number line is shown. The numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are labeled. Between 0 and 1, 7 tenths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 13 eighths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 5 halves is labeled and shown with a red dot. 3 is labeled and shown with a red dot.

2\frac{1}{3},-2\frac{1}{3}

1\frac{3}{4},-1\frac{3}{5}


A number line is shown. The numbers negative 4, negative 3, negative 2, negative 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 are labeled. Between negative 3 and negative 2, negative 2 and 1 third is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 2 and 1 third is labeled and shown with a red dot.

\frac{3}{4},-\frac{3}{4},1\frac{2}{3},-1\frac{2}{3},\frac{5}{2},-\frac{5}{2}

\frac{2}{5},-\frac{2}{5},1\frac{3}{4},-1\frac{3}{4},\frac{8}{3},-\frac{8}{3}


A number line is shown. The numbers negative 4, negative 3, negative 2, negative 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 are labeled. Between negative 3 and negative 2, negative 8 thirds is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between negative 2 and negative 1, negative 1 and 3 fourths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between negative 1 and 0, negative 2 fifths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 0 and 1, 2 fifths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 1 and 2, 1 and 3 fourths is labeled and shown with a red dot. Between 2 and 3, 8 thirds is labeled and shown with a red dot.

In the following exercises, order each of the following pairs of numbers, using < or >.

-1\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{1}{4}

-1\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{1}{3}

<

-2\frac{1}{2}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-3

-1\frac{3}{4}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-2

>

-\frac{5}{12}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{7}{12}

-\frac{9}{10}\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{3}{10}

<

-3\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{13}{5}

-4\underset{__}{\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}}-\frac{23}{6}

<

Everyday Math

Music Measures A choreographed dance is broken into counts. A \frac{1}{1} count has one step in a count, a \frac{1}{2} count has two steps in a count and a \frac{1}{3} count has three steps in a count. How many steps would be in a \frac{1}{5} count? What type of count has four steps in it?

Music Measures Fractions are used often in music. In \frac{4}{4} time, there are four quarter notes in one measure.

  1. How many measures would eight quarter notes make?
  2. The song “Happy Birthday to You” has 25 quarter notes. How many measures are there in “Happy Birthday to You?”
  1. 8
  2. 4

Baking Nina is making five pans of fudge to serve after a music recital. For each pan, she needs \frac{1}{2} cup of walnuts.

  1. How many cups of walnuts does she need for five pans of fudge?
  2. Do you think it is easier to measure this amount when you use an improper fraction or a mixed number? Why?

Writing Exercises

Give an example from your life experience (outside of school) where it was important to understand fractions.

Answers will vary.

Explain how you locate the improper fraction \frac{21}{4} on a number line on which only the whole numbers from 0 through 10 are marked.

Self Check

After completing the exercises, use this checklist to evaluate your mastery of the objectives of this section.

.

If most of your checks were:

…confidently. Congratulations! You have achieved the objectives in this section. Reflect on the study skills you used so that you can continue to use them. What did you do to become confident of your ability to do these things? Be specific.

…with some help. This must be addressed quickly because topics you do not master become potholes in your road to success. In math, every topic builds upon previous work. It is important to make sure you have a strong foundation before you move on. Who can you ask for help? Your fellow classmates and instructor are good resources. Is there a place on campus where math tutors are available? Can your study skills be improved?

…no—I don’t get it! This is a warning sign and you must not ignore it. You should get help right away or you will quickly be overwhelmed. See your instructor as soon as you can to discuss your situation. Together you can come up with a plan to get you the help you need.

Glossary

equivalent fractions
Equivalent fractions are two or more fractions that have the same value.
fraction
A fraction is written \frac{a}{b}. in a fraction, a is the numerator and b is the denominator. A fraction represents parts of a whole. The denominator b is the number of equal parts the whole has been divided into, and the numerator a indicates how many parts are included.
mixed number
A mixed number consists of a whole number a and a fraction \frac{b}{c} where c\ne 0. It is written as a\frac{b}{c}, where c\ne 0.
proper and improper fractions
The fraction \frac{a}{b} is proper if a<band improper if a>b.

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