Unit Fractions
Use unit fractions to name and count fractional amounts
Using unit fractions (e.g., one oneseventh, two onesevenths, etc.) when counting fractional amounts, such as regions in a rectangle, rather than using a whole number count (e.g., 1, 2 ,3 ...), reinforces the meaning of the fraction. BACKGROUND A unit fraction is the base unit of any fraction and always has a numerator of 1; for example,
1
4
1
5
1
23
3
4
Consider the fraction one and threefourths. This number can be decomposed using a unit fraction. one and three fourths seven onefourths units One and twofourths can be composed using a unit fraction. A student may say, “One whole is the same as 4 onefourth units. I added another 2 onefourth units to the whole to obtain 6 onefourth units. So I can see that 6 onefourth units is equal to one and twofourths. Use of unit fractions supports a deeper understanding of quantity. Notice that in the student dialogue above, early understanding of equivalency is being developed, i.e., one and one half is the same as six fourths. Counting by naming the unit fractions helps students to see the parts of the fraction when composing and decomposing. Notice that both counting unit fractions and composing and decomposing fractions are precursors to addition and subtraction. For example, composing 6 onefourth units is the same as adding 6 onefourth units together to make one and one half. 
TASKS Counting Game Students “count up” using unit fractions (for example,
1
4
1
3
,
1
2
1
8
