Hands-on math!

Mixed number

A mixed number is a whole number plus a fraction. Here are a few mixed numbers:

 1 1/2      1 1/3        2 1/2      2  2/5        1 4/5    

You can convert a mixed number to an improper fraction by finding the number of unit fractions in the whole number and then adding the fractional part of the whole number to them. This sounds hard, but it really isn't. For example, in the first example the 1 changes to 2/2 because there are 2 halves in a whole. In the fourth example, the 2 becomes 10/5 because there are 5 fifths in a whole (10 fifths in a 2). Get it? Once you have done this, then you just add the fraction to it. So, each of our examples above becomes:
  3/2          4/3        5/2        12/5         9/5

Now here's a problem for you:

Convert 3 1/3 to an improper fraction. (Hint: How many thirds in a 3?)

For some practice with improper fractions and mixed numbers see the Math Pak Unit 10.