Fraction Strips

Fraction Bars

UDL 3.2

Fraction strips are strips of paper, foam, cardboard, etc. that are equal in length and sectioned off to represent various ways of dividing the the whole length into equal parts. They can come in different shapes, widths and colors and can be used for many fraction lessons because they are good visual representations of equivalent fractions (e.g. 4/8, 3/6, 2/4 all equal ½). Students can use the fraction pieces to compare to the whole or they can compare parts to each other (e.g. two 1/4 pieces equal one 1/2 piece).

Ready-to-Use Resources


Fraction Tiles and Bars

These fraction bars can be printed and cut out for students to use for all types of work with fractions. They provide both a physical and a visual representation of parts of a whole, and they can be utilized for performing operations with fractions, identifying equivalent fractions, and even developing basic understanding of the concept of fractions. Included in this packet is both a color version and a black-and-white version of the fraction bars.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 · Math · 7 pages

Implementation Tips

Student-created Fraction Strips
For students who are kinesthetic learners, have them make their own sets of fraction strips by cutting pieces of colored construction paper that are equal in length into different combinations of equal parts (Fold in 1/2 for halves, fold in 3 equal parts for thirds, etc). Students should label each piece 1/2, 1/3, etc.
Pairing Students
When having students make their own fraction strips, a student who needs a little more support can be paired with a student who does not need support in order to provide a model.
Teaching Other Skills using Fraction Strips
For students who do not yet understand fractions and are working on concepts such as color, shapes and matching, the fraction strips can be used for teaching these concepts while the rest of the class is working on equivalent fractions. For example, have a 12-inch piece of blue paper. Give the student 4 3-inch pieces of red paper of the same width as the blue paper. Have students place their red segments on top of the blue, 12-inch strip to show they are the same length.


Understanding Part-Whole
The teacher can pass out one segment that represents a certain fraction of a whole fraction strip. One student will have a piece cut into a 1/4 segment, while another will have a segment cut into a 1/2 segment. The teacher can then show students a whole strip (1) and ask students to see how many of their pieces are required to equal the whole. Ask how many halves equal one whole? How many fourths equal one whole, etc.
Equivalent Fractions
To demonstrate equivalent fractions, fraction strips with various even denominators can be distributed to the class. The teacher can tape a ½ fraction strip on the board. The teacher then asks students to come to the board and tape pieces of their fraction strips below the ½ to demonstrate how many pieces of other fractions are needed to equal ½.
Adding Fractions
As an introduction to adding fractions, fraction strips can be used to visually demonstrate basic addition (e.g. 1/8 + 4/8 = 5/8) by using a whole strip marked off in 1/8 segments and individual 1/8 pieces, which can be placed on the whole strip. Students can use the marked 1/8 segments and count how many segments their pieces add up to.

Related Strategies