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Shaded Fractions and Number Lines (Unit Fractions)


Fractions are parts of whole numbers.

You have probably heard of things like;

  • a half
  • a third
  • a quarter

When describing part of a number we need to know how big that part is, and that is what the name of the fraction tells us - how big is that part.

For example, half means that the original thing was divided in half (into 2 equal pieces). Like this apple.

Or a third, which means that the original object was divided into 3 equal parts.

Like this wonton pastry:


Unit fractions simply mean that we are only interested in looking at ONE of those pieces.


To identify a shaded fraction, or what fraction something is of another, we need to know:

  1. How many pieces the original shape is cut up into?  (this number goes on the bottom of the fraction), and 
  2. How many parts do we have, or are shaded. (this number goes on the top of the fraction). For unit fractions, we always have one of them.  


Worked examples

Question 1

What fraction of the rectangle is shaded?

Question 2

What fraction of the circle is shaded?

A circle is divided into 5 equal sectors, similar to slices of a pie. 1 of the sectors is shaded in green, standing out against the other sectors, which are uncolored and only outlined in black. The circle is represented with a black border, and the central point from which the sectors radiate is marked by a small black dot.

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