How to Teach the Subtraction of Fractions

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Subtraction problems aren't necessarily more difficult if they involve fractions, but they will have a few more steps. Teach the subtraction of fractions with help from a longtime mathematics educator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Principles of Math
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang, and we're here to talk about how to teach the subtraction of fractions. Now, subtraction of fractions is a very important idea, especially with the fractions portion. And, here's a couple of things to think about when it comes to teaching that concept: First and foremost, one very fundamental idea is the least, or some will call it the lowest common multiple, LCM for short. Once students understand that idea, it really helps them figuring out the next concept, the least common denominator, or LCD for short. Obviously, very closely related. Now, understanding these two concepts will really go a long way in helping them understand how to subtract fractions. Now, also, to kind of help them be more comfortable with fractions themselves is to be able to teach them equivalent fractions. When are two fractions equivalent? When are they not? And then, that'll give them an idea as to practice further the idea of least common multiple, as well as least common denominator. If you wanted to, you can use some application scenarios. Things that can be broken up, for example, like pizzas, where you can break it up into many different kinds of slices, as well as pies, or any other kinds of models that you can think of to kind of help them relate to it in a real world setting. But, once you use these particular ideas, by the end of the concept they should be able to grasp it fairly well. So, I'm Jimmy Chang, and there are a few suggestions on how to teach the subtraction of fractions.


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