What you need to know

Things to remember:

  • To compare fractions the numbers on the bottom need to be the same, and then we look at the numbers on the top.

Let’s remind ourselves about the fancy names for the numbers in a fraction.

\frac{2}{7}\ \hspace{1em} \frac{\leftarrow Numerator}{\leftarrow Denominator}

When we compare fractions, the numbers on the bottom have to be the same.

Which fraction is bigger, \frac{2}{6}, \frac{3}{6}, or \frac{5}{6}?

It will be helpful for us to look at these fractions as diagrams again.

\frac{2}{6}

\frac{3}{6}

\frac{5}{6}

 

By counting the squares, we can see that \frac{5}{6} is the biggest. So really, as long as the numbers on the bottom of the fraction are the same, we just need to look at the top number!

Which fraction in the list is the smallest?

\frac{1}{9}\hspace{2em} \frac{7}{9}\hspace{2em}\frac{3}{9}

The numbers on the bottom of these fractions are the same, so we just need to look at the numbers on the top. We know that 1 is the smallest, so \frac{1}{9} is the smallest fraction.

Example Questions

Question 1: Which fraction in the list is the smallest?

 \frac{4}{5}\hspace{2em} \frac{5}{5}\hspace{2em}\frac{2}{5}

Answer

All of the numbers on the bottom are the same, so we just need to look at the top numbers. We know that 2 is the smallest number, so \frac{2}{5} is smallest.

Question 2: Which fraction in the list is the biggest?

 \frac{12}{15}\hspace{2em} \frac{7}{15}\hspace{2em}\frac{9}{15}

Answer

All of the numbers on the bottom are the same, so we just need to look at the top numbers. We know that 12 is the biggest number, so \frac{12}{15} is biggest.