{FREE} Convert Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers Using Visuals

My children love to color. They are always begging to print off a new coloring page off the computer. It is the perfect cool-down activity in the summer, and a great inside filler on cold winter days. But I love it when I can take something they love to do, and turn it into a learning activity. And that is what this activity does as kids use models to convert improper fractions to mixed numbers. Your children and my kiddos, get a chance to color to develop an understanding of improper fractions, division, mixed numbers and more.

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Note: This is a guest post from Rachel of You’ve Got This Math.

Improper Fractions Worksheets Prep-Work

This is a no-prep activity! Personally, my favorite type of activity.

  • First, print off the pages you would like to use.
  • Then provide crayons or colored pencils…and this activity is ready to go.

What is an Improper Fraction?

Before we get started on the activity, let’s talk briefly about what an improper fraction is.

The definition is quite simple. An improper fraction is any fraction where the numerator is greater than or equal to the denominator.

So 6/5 is an improper fraction. The numerator six is greater than the denominator which is five.

Likewise, 10/10 is an improper fraction, because the numerator and denominator are equal, and thus this fraction is really a representative of one whole.

Just as we always want our children to simplify a fraction when they solve a problem, we don’t want them to provide an improper fraction as an answer.

Instead, we want them to convert the improper fraction to a mixed number.

The Formula for Converting Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers

As always, there is a “formula” for converting these improper fractions to mixed numbers.

One concept to remember is that fractions can also be thought of as a division problem.

Have you ever really looked at a fraction and a division problem? Have you noticed that how a fraction is written is the same way we usually write division problems? It is! We take two numbers and separate them by a slashed line or a horizontal line.

I can write the fraction one-fifth like this: 1/5

Or I could write 12 divided by 3 like this: 12/3

So when it comes to changing an improper fraction to a mixed number we simply divide.

13/4 = 3 remainder 1

Then all that we have to do is take that remainder and write it as a fraction. I have three wholes, and I need four more pieces to make another whole since the denominator is 4. But I only have one out of the four pieces.

So I have 3 1/4.

Modeling Improper Fractions with Visuals

It is essential that kids can visualize why numbers and formulas work the way that they do. And that is where this worksheet/coloring page comes in.

Let’s look at some ways we can color to convert these improper fractions to mixed numbers.

Example One:


When we look at the denominator we see that it takes four pieces to make a whole, and the model for this is already provided. Now, all we need to do is color in 12 pieces.

We can easily see that three whole squares have been colored in, so 12/4 = 3

Example Two:


Well, this one is a little harder, but so manageable when we use our models.

Once again, we look at our denominator and see that we need 16 pieces to make one whole, but I have 35 pieces.

So using a model that is divided into 16 pieces, I color in 35 pieces.

As you can see, I colored in two whole circles and three sixteenth pieces. So 35/16 = 2  3/16

Once our sweet little ones have worked through a few coloring pages, they will develop a better understanding of what is happening when we convert improper fractions to mixed numbers.

Once that understanding is there, then it may be time to introduce the formula.


{Click HERE to go to my shop to grab this FREE set of worksheets to Convert Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers!}

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Rachel is a homeschool mom to four little ones, ages 2 to 6. She is a former public elementary teacher, and has recently begun blogging at her page You’ve Got This. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

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