Fractions on a Number Line

Contributor: Ashley Nail. Lesson ID: 13403

You may have already learned fractions represent equal parts of a whole. You probably used shapes and fraction bars, but this lesson will teach you how to find and identify fractions on a number line.


Fractions and Operations

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Imagine you are running a relay race.

passing the baton in a race

In order to cross the finish line, you and your teammates have to run 1 whole mile. Since there are four of you on the relay team, you will each run an equal part of the 1 mile.

Let's use a number line and your knowledge of fractions to figure out where each teammate should stand on the track.

A fraction represents the number of equal parts of a whole.

Sometimes you can use shapes split into equal parts to show a fraction:

equal parts example

You can also use fraction bars:

fraction bars example

This time, let's use a number line to show fractions.

  • Remember the relay race from above?

When you start a relay race, the first runner starts at the START line, or 0.

race number line example 1

The four runners will run equal parts in order to cross the finish line at 1 whole mile.

Let's mark on the number line where each runner will start their equal part of the race.

race number line example 2

Now, we are ready to make a fraction!

  • The number line is split into how many equal parts?

race number line example 3

Four! The number line is split into four equal parts! This number becomes the denominator of the fraction.

  • If the runner at the START line runs to the next teammate, how much of the race did that runner run?
  • In other words, if you start at the 0 on the number line and look at the point, what fraction does the number line represent?

race number line example 4

The fraction shown on this number line is ¼ .

The first teammate will run ¼ of the one mile race! Each runner will run ¼ of a mile.

Let's think about the relay race in a few different situations. Draw a number line to help you understand.

If you would like to review what you have just learned, watch Fractions on a Number Line - 3rd Grade Math Videos for Kids from Math & Learning Videos 4 Kids:

To practice using number lines to show fractions, click "Next" to visit the Got It? section.

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