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Video: Modeling Equivalent Fractions

Kathryn Kingham

Using visual representations, we see that we can write equivalent versions of the same fraction with different numbers in the numerator and the denominator. We can also compare fractions using our visual fraction models.

05:55

Video Transcript

Let’s investigate equivalent fractions. Equivalent fractions are fractions that might look different but actually have the same value. They are the same amount of something, but first let’s quickly remember what is a fraction.

A fraction is a part of a whole. For example, this whole pizza has eight parts, but the part that you ate was only one piece. So we say one out of eight, one-eighth. One is the part that you ate and eight is the number of slices of a pizza it takes to make a whole pizza. Some other words we use when we were talking about fractions are numerator and denominator. The numerator is the number on top and the denominator is the number on the bottom.

So here is a pizza problem. Let’s say that Kim and Myra wanted to share a pizza for launch. Kim ate one-eighth of the pizza and Myra ate one-fourth. Who do you think ate more pizza? Let’s start by shading in the amount of pizza we think that Kim and Myra ate.

So we’re thinking there were eight slices of pizza and Kim ate one. That’s Kim’s piece. But to figure out what’s happening with Myra, we need to change our thinking a little bit. We need to think about parts to the whole. Myra’s whole had only four sections and not eight. So if they were sharing a pizza, we need to divide up Myra’s fraction by four parts and not eight.

Now that the pizza is divided into four parts, it’s easier to see how much pizza Myra ate. Since Myra ate one-fourth of the pizza, she ate two slices. Myra had two slices of pizza. Kim had one. Myra ate more pizza. Let’s take one more look at Kim and Myra’s pizza fractions. You might think that because Kim and Myra both have a one in the numerator that they must have eaten the same amount of pizza. But that is not the way fractions work. You might also think that because eight is bigger than four that Kim ate more pizza. But this is also not how fractions work. A better way to solve the problem is to draw a picture and then check the amounts. This strategy works when your circles are the same size. So when you use this strategy, make sure that you’re drawing the pictures the same size. But again, we see that Kim had less than Myra.

This question is for you to try and solve. At a pizza party, Myra, Wes, and Jude all ate these fractions of pizza. The pizzas were all the same size, but some of them were cut with a different number of slices. Try and figure out who ate more. If you want to try and solve this problem on your own, you can pause the video now. If you aren’t sure where to start, you could start here by drawings three equally sized circles and dividing them by the same number of parts each person’s pizza was divided into. After you’ve shaded in your circles, it’s easy to say that again Myra ate the most pizza.

Before we finish, let’s compare these last three fractions. What strategy do you think we should use? Let’s use the same strategy. First, we drew three equal sized circles. We divided them into the parts of the whole for each fraction. And now we’re gonna shade the part that we need: one-half, two-fourth, and four-eighths. One half, two-fourth, and four-eighths are equal. They have the same value. They mean the same amount. And so we call them equivalent fraction.

Equivalent fractions have different numerators and denominators. But they’re equal fractions. They represent the same amount of something. You word to know is equivalent fractions. These are fractions whose numerator and denominator are different, but the fractions equal the same amount. A good way to solve problems when dealing with the equivalent fractions is to use models like we’ve done in this video. You can use your new fraction skill at your next pizza party.