Proper Fractions
(KS2, Year 3)

The Lesson

A proper fraction is a type of fraction. The top number of a proper fraction (called the numerator) is less than the bottom number (called the denominator).

Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a proper fraction as "a fraction whose magnitude is less than one, the numerator being lower in magnitude than the denominator."

Examples of Proper Fractions

Here are some examples of proper fractions:

Visualizing Proper Fractions

A useful way of visualizing fractions is to picture it as a cake being cut into equal parts. The top number (the numerator) tells you have many slices you have. The bottom number (the denominator) tells you how many equal slices the cake is cut into. For proper fractions, there are not enough slices to make a whole cake:

Interactive Widget

Here is an interactive widget to help you learn about the types of fractions.

What Is a Fraction?

A fraction is a part of a whole number. Fractions consist of a numerator and a denominator. There are three different types of fractions:

The Size of Proper Fractions

The size of a proper fraction is always less than 1. We visualize this by noticing there are never enough slices to make a cake.
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See Also

Play our "bubble pop" game on proper fractions. Play our "bubble pop" game on improper fractions. Play our "bubble pop" game on mixed fractions. What is a fraction? What is a numerator? What is a denominator? What is an improper fraction? What is a mixed fraction? Learn more about the types of fractions ( interactive widget)