Compare Fractions using the Number Line
Videos to help Grade 3 students learn how to understand distance and position on the number line as strategies for comparing fractions.
Common Core Standards: 3.NF.2a,
Plans and Worksheets for Grade 3
Plans and Worksheets for all Grades
Lessons for Grade 3
Common Core For Grade 3
New York State Common Core Math Module 5, Grade 3, Lesson 19
Thomas has 2 sheets of paper. He wants to punch 4 equally
spaced holes along the edge of each sheet.
Draw Thomas’ 2 sheets of paper next to each other so the ends meet.
Label a number line from 0 at the start of his first paper to 2 at the end of his second paper.
Show Thomas where to hole-punch his papers and label the unit fractions.
What unit fraction is labeled on the eighth hole?
Draw 2 same-sized rectangles on your board and partition both into 4 equal parts.
Shade your top rectangle to show 1 fourth and shade the bottom to show 3 copies of 1 fourth.
Compare the models. Which shaded fraction is larger? The 3 fourths is larger because 3 parts is greater than just 1 part of the same size.
Use your rectangles to measure and draw a number line from 0 to 1. Partition it into 4 equal size segments. Label all parts of your number line.
Compare 1 fourth to 3 fourths using the number line. How do you know which is the larger fraction? 1 fourth is less distance from 0, so it is the smaller fraction. 3 fourths is a greater distance away from 0, so it is the larger fraction.
We can compare the fractions by seeing their distance from 0.
Lesson 19 Homework
1 unit is a smaller distance from 0 than 3 units.
If we know where 0 is on the number line, how can it help us to find the smaller or larger fraction? The smaller fraction will always be to the left of the larger fraction. Because the further you go to the right on the number line, the further the distance from 0.
That means the fraction to the left is always smaller. It’s closer to 0.
1. Divide each number line into the given unit fractions. Then place the fractions. Write each whole as a
2. Use the number lines above to compare the following fractions using >, <, or =.
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