# What Is A Unit Fraction? Explained For Primary Parents

**In this post we will be explaining what a unit fraction is, what they mean, and providing you with some questions you can use to test your KS2 child’s skills when it comes to unit fractions.**

This blog is part of our series of blogs designed for parents supporting home learning and looking for home learning resources during the Covid-19 epidemic.

**What is a unit fraction?**

A unit fraction is any fraction with 1 as its numerator (top number), and a whole number for the denominator (bottom number).

Examples of unit fractions include:

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**When will my child learn about unit fractions?**

Although the terminology of ‘unit fraction’ is not yet introduced, **Year 1 **pupils should:

- recognise, find and name a half as one of two equal parts of an object, shape or quantity;
- recognise, find and name a quarter as one of four equal parts of an object, shape or quantity.

In **Year 2**, pupils use fractions as ‘fractions of’ discrete (whole numbers) and continuous (any numerical value e.g. 3.6) quantities by solving problems using shapes, objects and quantities.

They connect unit fractions to:

- equal sharing and grouping;
- to numbers when they can be calculated;
- and to measures, finding fractions of lengths, quantities, sets of objects or shapes.

They also meet ^{3}/_{4} as the first example of a non-unit fraction.

**Year 3** pupils should:

- recognise, find and write fractions of a discrete set of objects: unit fractions and non-unit fractions with small denominators;
- recognise and use fractions as numbers: unit fractions and non-unit fractions with small denominators;
- compare and order unit fractions, and fractions with the same denominators;
- begin to understand unit and non-unit fractions as numbers on the number line, and deduce relations between them, such as size and equivalence;
- understand the relation between unit fractions as operators (fractions of), and division by integers;
- continue to recognise fractions in the context of parts of a whole, numbers, measurements, a shape, and unit fractions as a division of a quantity.

Unit fractions are then not mentioned in the curriculum until **Year 6**, where pupils use their understanding of the relationship between unit fractions and division to work backwards by multiplying a quantity that represents a unit fraction to find the whole quantity (for example, if ^{1}/_{4} of a length is 36cm, then the whole length is 36 × 4 = 144cm).

**Wondering about how to explain other key maths vocabulary to your children? Check out our Primary Maths Dictionary, or try these other terms related to unit fractions:**

- What Are Equivalent Fractions?
- What Is BODMAS (and BIDMAS)?
- Properties of shapes
- What are 2D shapes?
- What are 3D shapes?

**Unit fraction practice questions for primary school children**

1) Write these numbers in order, starting with the smallest: ^{1}/_{2}, ^{1}/_{4}, ^{1}/_{8}, ^{1}/_{5}

2) Circle the biggest unit fraction: ^{1}/_{6}, ^{1}/_{4}, ^{1}/_{3}, ^{1}/_{5}

3) Shade in ^{1}/_{5} of this shape (you can recreate this on a piece of paper):

4) Calculate ^{1}/_{7} of 21.

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