Unit Fractions


You can help your child understand how to order fractions where the numerator (number on the top) is 1.

What you need:

  • Pen and paper
  • Apples (real or drawn)

What to do:

Ask your child:

  • Which is bigger, one half or one quarter?
  • How do you know which is bigger?
  • Can you imagine half of an apple and quarter of an apple? Which is bigger?
  • How about one third of an apple – is it bigger or smaller than one half? Is it bigger or smaller than one quarter?

Cut three apples up, one into halves, one into quarters and one into thirds. These could be real apples, or pictures of apples drawn on paper. Compare the sizes. What can you say about the sizes?

Ask your child to write the three fractions down - 1/2, 1/3, 1/4. Make sure that they know how to correctly write each fraction.

Ask your child to explain what each fraction means. You should expect an answer that describes how many parts the whole is split into, for example, one half means the whole is split into two pieces.

What to expect your child to do:

  • Correctly write unit fractions and understand what they mean - 1/2 means the whole is split into 2 parts and you have one of them, 1/4 means the whole is split into 4 parts and you have one of them.
  • Recognise that the more pieces an object is cut into, the smaller each piece will be.


  • Include other unit fractions - 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10.
  • Use contexts other than apples (cakes, pizzas) or objects that are not round but long and uniform in shape for example French breadstick.

He Kupu Māori:

half haurua
quarter hauwhā
third hautoru
equal parts wāhanga ōrite
fraction hautau
bigger fraction hautau nui ake
smaller fraction hautau iti ake

He Whakawhitinga Kōrero:

  • He nui ake te haurua i te hauwhā o tētahi āporo, he iti ake rānei? (Is half an apple bigger or smaller than a quarter?)
  • Tuhia he porowhita. Wehea kia [rua/toru/whā] ngā wāhanga ōrite. (Draw a circle. Divide it up in to [2/3/4] equal parts.)
  • Tuhia ngā tohu hautau e hāngai ana ki ia wehenga porowhita. (Write the fraction symbols that go with each of the circle divisions.)
  • Raupapahia ēnei hautau mai i te iti ki te rahi: 1/3, ½, ¼. (Put these fractions in order from the smallest to largest.)
  • Titiro ki ngā tauraro o ngā hautau. He aha tāu e kite ana? (Look at the denominators of the fractions. What do you notice?)
  • Ko te rahi ake o te tauraro o te hautau, ko te iti ake o te hautau, nā te mea he maha ake ngā wāhanga o te porowhita. (The bigger the denominator, the smaller the fraction, because the circle is divided in to more parts.)

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