The mere mention of the word ‘fraction’ can fill a child’s thoughts with trepidation.

A fraction consists of a numerator and a denominator. In order to avoid confusion, I suggest that a child be told to associate the word ‘denominator’ and the word ‘downstairs’ — which, of course, has nothing to do with fractions — as both begin with the letter dee.

Via associating both words, the child should, therefore, remember that the denominator lies at the base of a fraction.

When the numerator is of a value that is less than the denominator, the fraction is known as a proper fraction. An example being a quarter: one as the numerator and four as the denominator.

However, when the fraction’s numerator is greater than its denominator it appears to be “top heavy” and in such an instance, is known as an improper fraction.

Two examples being six-fifths (six over five) and twenty-two sevenths (twenty-two over seven).

Improper fractions can be converted into what is known as a mixed numeral. A mixed numeral is simply a whole number and a proper fraction.

A mixed numeral can be obtained by dividing the smaller denominator into the larger numerator.

Using the above example of six-fifths, all we have to do to obtain the whole number is to divide the denominator, which in this case is five, into the numerator, six.

One should, therefore, be the whole number. Our remainder is one, as six, of course, is one more than five.

As a mixed numeral is composed of a whole number and a proper fraction all that is left to do is to place the remainder, which in this case is one, above the original denominator, five.

Our mixed numeral now reads as one (whole) and one fifth.

By following this same procedure, my second example: twenty-two sevenths becomes the mixed numeral, three (wholes) and one seventh.