# The Benefits of Teaching Fractions with Number Lines

Fractions can be a tough concept for 3rd-grade students to grasp. But fractions don’t have to be complicated, and there are plenty of ways to make learning about them fun. One way to do this is by teaching fractions on a number line. Number lines are a visual way of representing fractions. They can help students see how fractions work and understand concepts like size and equivalency. Best of all, number lines are relatively easy to create and use. Let’s explore some of the benefits of teaching fractions with number lines.

## Number Lines are Visual

One of the benefits of using number lines to teach fractions is that they provide a visual representation of the concept. For young learners, fractions are an abstract concept, and number lines can help them bring them to a concrete level. It can also be helpful for students who are struggling to understand how fractions work and how big or small they are. With a number line, they can see visually how the fraction relates to the whole number.

## Fraction Denominators on a Number line

It’s easy to show students how the number line is divided into parts that match the denominator. In this example, students will see that for fractions with a denominator of 2 – the number line is divided into 2 parts. The same is true for denominators 3 and 4.

I have my students shade the parts on the bottom of the number line because the denominator is the bottom number on a fraction. It’s part of the visual benefits of number lines.

I have them draw lines between the hash marks to show the three parts. this is the visual aspect that I think is helpful for them.

## Fraction Numerators on a Number Line

After we learn how the number line is divided into fraction parts, students draw the “hops” for the numerator, which shows the shaded parts.

## Fractions with Number Lines: Putting It Together

Students can now connect how a fraction bar can be represented on a number line:

Placing the fraction bar above the number line helps students make the connection!

## You Can Compare Fractions with Number Lines

Another benefit is that number lines can help students understand equivalency. For example, if students are having trouble understanding that 1/2 is the same as 2/4, you can easily show them on a number line. You can use them to help students compare fraction size.

Using fraction number lines and math manipulatives like fraction bars, circles, and squares when teaching equivalent fractions can help your students naturally move from the concrete to the abstract.

Teaching fractions with number lines has a lot of benefits. It’s a visual way for students to understand how fractions work and can also help them understand fraction size and equivalency. If you’re looking for an effective way to teach fractions, consider using number lines in your classroom!

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Robert John Meehan

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