# Fraction (mathematics) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
A cake with one quarter removed. The remaining 34 of the cake has been divided into two pieces.

A fraction is a number that shows how many equal parts there are. When we write fractions, we show one number with a line above (or a slash next to) another number. For example, $\tfrac{1}{4}$, 14 and 1/4.are different ways of writing the same fraction (in this case a quarter). The top number tells us how many parts there are, and the bottom number tells us the total number of parts.

The top part of the fraction is called a numerator. The bottom part of the fraction is called a denominator. For example, for the fraction $\tfrac{1}{4}$, the 1 is the numerator, and the 4 is the denominator.

## Examples

1. A room where $\tfrac{1}{4}$ of the people are girls, has 1 girl for every 4 people.
2. A cake can be thought of as being made up of 4 equal parts, where each is 1 part of 4. This can be written as $\tfrac{1}{4}$, and is called a "quarter". Similarly, 2 parts of the cake (2 quarters) can be written $\tfrac{2}{4}$, which is also equal to 1/2 (one-half).

## Mathematical fractions

A fraction is a mathematical expression relating two quantities or numbers, where one divides the other. When the two quantities are whole numbers (or integers), this is called a rational number (such as the fraction $\tfrac{1}{2}$). When the two quantities are polynomials, this is called a rational function.

Mathematically, a fraction is a quotient of numbers, representing the number's value when the numerator (upper number) is divided by the denominator (lower number). Thus $\tfrac{1}{2}$ means one divided by two, or, in decimals, 0.5.

To find $\tfrac{1}{2}$ of $\tfrac{1}{2}$, the denominators are multiplied, and because denominator 2 multiplied by 2 equals 4, we have that $\tfrac{1}{2}$ x $\tfrac{1}{2}$ = $\tfrac{1}{4}$, or 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25.

(In this case, “$\tfrac{1}{2}$ of” means "multiplication".)

To find $\tfrac{1}{2}$ divided by $\tfrac{1}{2}$, multiply $\tfrac{1}{2}$ by the reciprocal of $\tfrac{1}{2}$, which is 2. That answer is 1.

## Multiplying

To multiply two fractions, the first numerator is multiplied by the other numerator, and the first denominator is multiplied by the other denominator. For example. 24 x 34 = 616. One can simplify this by dividing both numbers by a common factor. This would be 38 after the simplication.

## Related pages

Fraction (mathematics) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.