Barkby & Emmons Class Website

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Mixed Numbers

State Standards:
4.NS.3: Express whole numbers as fractions and recognize fractions that are equivalent to whole numbers. Name and write mixed numbers using objects or pictures. Name and write mixed numbers as improper fractions using objects or pictures.

4.C.6: Add and subtract mixed numbers with common denominators (e.g. by replacing each mixed number with an equivalent fraction and/or by using properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction).

Fourth graders need to name and write mixed numbers and improper fractions from a picture or objects. This can be a struggle for students. They often have a difficult time realizing that mixed numbers and improper fractions represent the same amount. This is a great task you can practice at home. 

Secondly, fourth graders need to know how to add and subtract mixed numbers with like denominators. This is a concept we study using pictures and manipulatives and then move to paper pencil. 

The biggest hangup students have with adding mixed numbers is remembering to change any improper fractions in their answer to a mixed number. See here for the step-by-step directions we put in our notebook about how to do this. 

The biggest mistake students make when subtracting fractions is when they have to shift a whole to the fraction parts. Many times students want to add ten to the fraction instead of break the whole into the number of fraction parts (denominator) we are working with. See here for step-by-step directions that are in our notes. 

Additional Resources to Use at Home


Baking with students at home will give them experience with seeing mixed numbers in recipes and see the real world connection these concepts have. 


Find small objects (Legos) to use to have your child practice making mixed numbers and improper fractions. The objects should be the same size. Students should be able to explain that a mixed number has wholes and fraction parts. They should also be able to tell you how an improper fraction is the same as a mixed number.  

Practicing placing mixed numbers on a number line is very beneficial for understanding what a mixed number is and how it relates to other numbers. Use the number line to add and subtract mixed numbers. 

            Printable Number Line to Place Fractions On

Practice identifying mixed numbers on a ruler.

            Printable Ruler

Online Games

  • Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers
         Math Man- match the mixed number to the improper fraction