That Was Easy! An Easy Way to Add and Subtract Fractions

Oh yes the wonderful world of fractions!  Most students hate dealing with them but I have good news for those restless students!  I have a method that will make those “fraction haters” into crazed fraction loving math students!!

However my little secret method is only a short cut and should not be used as an excuse to approach fraction operations in the right way.

Also this method is limited to adding and subtracting fractions- the operations that give students the most trouble as they have to find the LCD, etc.  So if your homeschooler needs a little extra help mastering fractions l would like to introduce you to the “bow tie” method of adding and subtracting fractions.  The name “bow tie” describes the pattern in the steps we follow.


Find the sum or difference of any two fractions by following the arrows and multiplying; then simplify- see how it works below.



The downside of this method is that your answer may not be fully simplified- so make sure to reduce.  However this method is great with fractions with variables! (see example below)


** Lastly if you have mixed number fractions like 3 ½  you will need to convert them into improper fractions ex. 7/2 before using the method**

You see fractions can be our friends you just need to get to know them.