Adding and subtracting fractions

Adding And Subtracting Fractions

When adding, subtracting or doing any sort of work with fractions it is important that the children see diagrams and pictures so that they can visualise what’s happening.

Visualising fractions
Here it is easy to see that 2/3 is bigger than 1/2.

Ezra M. Katz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Starting With The Basics

A slower introduction to the subject with a cartoon spaceman – older learners may want to skip this.



A Good Starting Point For 9/10-Year-Olds And Beyond

In this video from Corbettmaths we get some very clear examples of addition in fractions and also some subtractions at the end so you can see the connection.

We’re looking at adding fractions with the same denominators.


Adding Fractions With A Common Denominator

If you want to go over that more slowly and see it pictorially tey this video, otherwise just jump to the next one!

Quick And Easy Ways Of Adding And Subtracting Fractions.

I like this video, but I would do the last calculation differently. I would add up the whole numbers 1 plus 2 equals 3, and then I would add up to fractions in the same way as he has done previously. Perhaps you might like to put in the comments which method you would use and why.

Adding And Subtracting Mixed Numbers

Now in this video, the woman does use the method I suggested and also looks at a better way to find the common denominator but I think it’s worth looking at the previous video first.

Adding and Subtracting Mixed Numbers Word Problems

Now once you are confident with adding and subtracting fractions you need to be able to apply it to solving word problems and this is an excellent video to show you how to do that.

Adding Fractions Review

This is a useful video if you’re just coming back to this page later and want to quickly revise what you learnt here.

Adding Three Fractions Fast


This guy does everything fast.  You might find it useful to stop the video from time to time and check you understand what is happening.


Adding Three Fractions Using The Common Denominator Method

Mr J finds the common denominator before starting the rest of the calculations. This keeps the numbers smaller,

Adding Mixed Numbers

This is a more detailed video where we look at adding mixed numbers. First of all it is done with the same denominators and then with different denominators.


Also see Online fraction games

6 thoughts on “Adding and subtracting fractions”

  1. Very interesting post. Its extremely important to help child, especially now after almost year of homeschooling which is not as effective as normal one. Some of these movies are really great and show easily and in transparent way how to do basic mathematical calculations. Looking forward to test them in practice!

    1. Hi – I am glad this has been helpful.

      I do home tutoring and thought it might be useful to put up links to the resources I have found helpful.

      All the best, Julia

  2. Home tutoring has caught me off guard. And I am constantly looking for resources to be able to catch up with my children’s needs. One of them is to make content exciting for them. It is hard because I explain things I would explain them to a grown-up, and my children are just kids. So these videos are very helpful.

    1. Hi Ann, I’m really glad this was helpful for you. I come back to it quite a lot for my own use. All the best Julia

  3. Hi, Julia,

    Your video on adding fractions was music to my ears. It sent me right back to the elementary math classroom. I was a math/science teacher for more than fifteen years. 

    I found your videos very instructive. They would surely be very helpful to math students, particularly those struggling with basic fractions. Over the years, I found out that the concept of “chalk and talk” was rather confusing to students. But saw a lot of improvements when teachers incorporate TLM in their teaching. And even more improvements when TLMs were enhanced with media. 

    I will spread the word. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi Cal, thanks for your encouragement!  

      These are resources that I find useful and I hope others do too!!

      All the best, Julia 

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