I recently completed a video that teaches fourth graders a review of fractions and an introduction to making equations with fractions. While making the video I realized how little I associated fractions with a part of the whole. When I was younger I remember seeing a pie divided into 3 parts and one part was missing so one third was missing. As I reviewed and studied how to approach this video I came to understand just how important it is to know that fractions are literally equal parts of a whole.
So if you have a rectangle divided into 6 parts to be a fraction all parts must be equal. After you know they are all equal you know that any one piece makes up a fraction of all 6 pieces. The top number or Numerator shows the parts in question. The bottom number or Denominator shows the total amount of pieces including the one in question. When I understood this I realized that is the key to helping kids understand the basics of adding and subtracting fractions.
The Denominator does not change is what I was told but I never fully understood why but now I do. I think I knew it but never grasped it until now. (sad, I know) The bottom will not change because we are talking about all parts and if you changed the denominator it would change the whole amount messing things up. Crazy stuff but I wish I had grasped this sooner.
If you have not had the chance to check out the video go to our 4th Grade section. Thanks