How to do fractions step by step

Understanding fractions can be straightforward when broken down into steps. Here’s a guide on how to handle fractions. This is very much a guide for parents, carers etc. who have some understanding of fractions but like a reminder from time to time. This is not for your children unless they already have a good grasp of fractions.

1. Understanding Fractions

  • A fraction represents a part of a whole.
  • It consists of two parts: the numerator (top number) and the denominator (bottom number).
  • The numerator indicates how many parts you have, while the denominator indicates how many parts make up a whole.

2. Simplifying Fractions

  • Find the greatest common divisor (GCD) of the numerator and the denominator
  • Divide both the numerator and the denominator by the GCD

3. Adding and Subtracting Fractions

  • Make sure the fractions have a common denominator.
  • Add or subtract the numerators.
  • Keep the denominator the same.
  • Simplify the result if possible.

4. Multiplying Fractions

  • Multiply the numerators together.
  • Multiply the denominators together.
  • Simplify the result if possible.
  • Example: Multiply 23×34.
    • Multiply numerators: 2 × 3 = 6.
    • Multiply denominators: 3 × 4 = 12.
    • Result: 612 which simplifies to 12.
Example multiply. 2/3 times 3 quarters. First multiply numerators 2 * 3 = 6. Then multiply denominators 3 * 4 = 12. result is six over 12 which simplifies to one half.

5. Dividing Fractions

  • Flip (take the reciprocal of) the second fraction.
  • Multiply the first fraction by this reciprocal.
  • Simplify the result if possible.

6. Converting Between Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions

  • To convert a mixed number to an improper fraction, multiply the whole number by the denominator, add the numerator, and place over the original denominator.
  • To convert an improper fraction to a mixed number, divide the numerator by the denominator.


  • Practice with different examples to become familiar with the process.
  • Always check to see if you can simplify your answer.

This should give you a solid foundation for dealing with fractions. Remember, practice is key to mastering fractions.


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