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How to Teach Fraction as Part of a Whole to Young Kids

Updated on March 10, 2015
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and have been teaching for more than 30 years. I also write fiction and non-fiction stories.

Fraction as Part of a Whole

Teaching fractions to young kids will help them understand how to name parts of a whole. This lesson needs many visual aids and materials in order for them to understand the lesson better.

When you introduce the lesson about fraction; it is important for the kids to know that fraction is a name given to parts of a whole. Using real materials will help the kids understand the meaning of fraction.

I use the following to teach fraction to young kids.

fraction chart

cut outs





The first thing to do is to introduce the meaning of fraction to the children. Use the chart to let the young kids see what fraction is.

Introduction of the Fraction

For example:

Use a stick to point to the drawing of a circle that is divided into two. Say, “Children, we have a new lesson today. Can you see this circle?”

The kids will answer yes. Follow up with the explanation. “This is a big circle and the circle is divided into two equal parts. Now let’s see what happens if we separate the two parts. “Separate the two parts and show them to the kids. “Look what happened to the big circle. It became two because we divided it. Now, this part is one part and this one is another part. We now have two parts and one part is called one-half.”

Put the half in a flip chart and the other beside it. Continue explaining the lesson. “We now have two parts instead of only one. Remember that we did not add anything to the circle. We just cut the circle into two equal parts. Now we say, one-half for this one and also one-half for this other one. Look at the two equal parts, if we attach them again, they become one. So we don’t call the circle one-half anymore.”

Separate the halves again and put them in the chart. You can now explain to the children that a fraction means part of a whole and they can understand you.

Do the same introduction for 1/3 , 1/4, and 1/5.

You can teach the very young kids up to 1/5 only but you can add more fraction lessons to the older kids such as teaching them about 2/3, 3/4 , etc,

Take the lesson one at a time so as not to confuse the young kids. If you have explained ½ to the kids, then let them do some worksheets about ½. You can explain 1/3 the next day then 1/4 the next and so on. It is very important to let the children learn each fraction one at a time so that they will better assimilate the lesson and retain it in their mind.

Activities for Teaching Fraction to Young Kids


Group the kids into four or five. Give them cut outs and tell them to fit the parts to make a whole. After they are done, let them name the objects that they have formed. The object cut outs may be a ball, a box, a rectangle, a square or anything that can be cut equally into 4 or 5 parts. This activity will surely create fun learning for the kids. This will help them enjoy learning and learn their lesson better.

Fitting in the parts

There are puzzles that you can use to teach fraction to the children. Use the big ones so that the children can fit them properly.


You can always do some innovative activities here. Instead of coloring the worksheets or drawing of ½, 1/3, ¼ and other fractions; you can provide some cut outs that the kids can color. That way, the kids will have more fun.

Eating Time

One good activity that you can use when teaching fraction is eating time. You can use any food to show fraction to the young kids. Cherries are good because you can cut the cherries into halves and show the kids what halves mean.

You can also use a pie or a cake. Small pies are good so that you can divide each pie into 4, 5, or 6. Then you can explain the fractions using the pieces.

Be sure to ask the kids what part of the fruit, pie or cake they are eating.

Work Sheets

Here are some directions to use for teaching fraction.

1. Color the fraction.

2. Encircle the correct fraction.

3. Draw the line to show two parts.

4. Draw the line to show three parts.

5. Draw the line to show four parts.

6. Shade the correct number of parts.

7. Write the fraction in the line provided for.

Answer the questions below.

view quiz statistics

It is always important to see if the kids have really learned their lesson or not. How can you track your pupil's progress? You can do this by giving paper works. This will help you assess your pupils if they had understood the lesson you have taught them. If the result is good, this means that the kids had understood the lesson but if the result is not good then you need to go back to the lesson and explain further or you can give more activities that will enhance the lesson.

Again, do not forget the repeat action that I always tell you when teaching very young kids.

Equal, Less than, Greater than

You can teach the older kids about equal, less than and greater than. When teaching comparing fractions to young kids, you have to use only the similar fractions so that they will not get confused. But first use the objects for introducing the lesson then give them some work sheets to answer for lesson enhancement. Once they know what the fractions are, the children will have fun answering work sheets.

Fraction lessons are fun and the kids can easily grasp the lesson.


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