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Learning About Fraction Circles

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Fraction Circles

Explore fractions with hands-on manipulatives

Fraction Circles enable students to explore fractions, fractional equivalences, add and subtract fractions, work with mixed numbers, and more. Each Fraction Circle is broken into equal fractional parts and uses the same-sized whole.

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  • - Add & Subtract Fractions
  • - Equivalences
  • - Mixed Numbers
  • - Comparing Fractions
  • - Common Denominators
  • - Dividing Fractions
  • - Ratios


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Fraction Circles

Fraction Circles

Explore fractions and learn how to recognize fractional equivalence.

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Small group and classroom sets are available.

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A wide variety of accessories are available.

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Learning About Fraction Circles

Exploring Fraction Circles

Fraction Circles represent different fractions for instructive comparison. You can use them to teach students how to compare and construct fractions, work with mixed numbers, and add/subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators. Fraction Circles help students recognize that fractions fit together to form a whole circle.

Rainbow Fraction® Circles are color-coded representing a whole, halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths, and twelfths.

rainbow fraction color chart

Working with Fraction Circles

Fraction Circles make it easy to show students fractional equivalences and teach them about the relationships between fractional parts of the same whole as well as how to compare and construct fractions. You can extend the use of Fraction Circles by using Fraction Circle Rings that fit around the Fraction Circles and display fractions, decimals, percents, degrees, or time.

Fraction Circles can also be used to familiarize students with how fractions are named and with the terms numerator and denominator. A fraction is represented as a number above and a number below a line segment or slanted segment. The top number is called the numerator and the bottom number is called the denominator. The numerator tells how many equal parts of a whole you have, while the denominator tells how many of these equal parts are needed to create a whole.

Have your students use Fraction Circles to relate fractions to a whole unit by exploring and naming the number of fractions needed to create a whole circle. Students can compare and order fractions by using the pieces to see how their sizes relate to each other and to the circle as a whole. They can also use Fraction Circles to recognize and create equivalent fractions; learn improper fractions and mixed numbers; model different operations involving fractions; and much more.

With Fraction Circles your students can explore equivalences by finding a piece that represents 1/2 and then finding 2 pieces that represent 1/4 This helps them see that 1/2 and 2/4 are equivalent. Once they understand that initial concept, they can find additional pieces that are equivalent to 1/2.

I like that pieces are not labeled with the fraction size - means kids have to figure this out, so increases the learning.

- Nona, Albany, CA



Here are activities for getting to know Fraction Circles and beginning to use them to learn and understand the math that they represent.

Activity Curriculum Strands Topics Downloads
Add Unlike Fractions

Students learn how to add like fractions and generate equivalent fractions.

Source: Hands-On Standards Grade 5 Teacher

Number & Operations Fractions Add & Subtract Fractions Download
Same Size Circle

Students practice creating equivalent fractions.

Source: Differentiated Math Centers Grade 4 Card

Fractions Equivalence Download
Slicing a Pizza

Student learn to understand fractions as equal parts of a whole.

Source: Differentiated Math Centers Grade 3 Card

Number Addition and Subtraction Download

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