Subtracting fractions from a whole number

 

 

If you have a dollar, you can always cash it in for four quarters - it is an even exchange. This can be represented mathematically as $1\,=\,\frac{4}{4}$.

Similarly, if you have 3 dollars, you can cash in one of those dollars for four quarters, leaving you with two dollars and four quarters - the same amount of money as \$3. This can be represented mathematically as $3\,=\,2\frac{4}{4}$.

We are going to use this idea of exchanging a whole number for an equivalent amount of fractions to learn how to subtract fractions from a whole number.

 


Example 1: $4\,-\,1\frac{2}{5}\,=$

Step 1: Model the first number

Step 2: Regroup the first number

Step 3: Subtract

 


Example 2: $6\,-\,4\frac{5}{8}\,=$

Step 1: Model the first number

Step 2: Regroup the first number

Step 3: Subtract

 

For more practice with fractions, please try this Fraction Calculator.

 


 

Self-Check


Question 1

$9\,-\,2\frac{1}{5}\,=$

 

[show answer]


Question 2

$4\,-\,1\frac{3}{8}\,=$

 

[show answer]


Question 3

$12\,-\,7\frac{2}{7}\,=$

 

[show answer]