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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Maths Subject Knowledge: Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds MICHAEL ANDERSON: Hello. I’m Michael Anderson, Mathematics Subject Specialist at the National STEM Learning Centre.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds PAULA KELLY: I’m Paula Kelly. I’m a Secondary Maths teacher. Welcome to our fractions, decimals, and percentages course.

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 seconds MICHAEL ANDERSON: Fractions is a topic in maths the students can find difficult and one which teachers can often find tricky to teach.

Skip to 0 minutes and 25 seconds PAULA KELLY: Fractions, decimals, and percentages are introduced to students early in the curriculum. They remain a major focus until the end of secondary school.

Skip to 0 minutes and 33 seconds MICHAEL ANDERSON: In this course, we’ll tackle why students find fractions, percentages, and decimals difficult and provide you with clear, classroom-based teaching approaches that will help your students to develop a deeper understanding of these three interconnected topics.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds PAULA KELLY: During the course, will cover methods for multiplying, dividing, adding and subtracting with fractions, decimals, and percentages. We’ll also explore how to convert between fractions, decimals, and percentages and how these skills are applied across the wider mathematics curriculum.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds MICHAEL ANDERSON: In this first week, we’re going to have a look at equivalent fractions, mixed numbers, and top-heavy fractions, as well as how to compare two or more fractions.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 seconds PAULA KELLY: Each week includes videos, examples, worked questions, and questions for you to have a go at yourself. We hope you enjoy the course.

Getting started with fractions, decimals and percentages

Welcome to Fractions, Decimals and Percentages from the National STEM Learning Centre. We’ve designed this course for teachers as subject knowledge enhancement as part of your professional development. If you are not a teacher, you are still very welcome to complete this course to improve your own understanding of mathematics.

Fractions, decimals and percentages are everywhere in life. Interest rates are quoted using percentages, the amount of fuel you have left in your car is often seen as a fraction on a dial, money is written using decimals. Yet fractions, decimal and percentages are essentially the same thing written in three different ways.

In this six-week course we will demonstrate different methods for multiplying, dividing, adding and subtracting fractions, decimals and percentages. We’ll explore the connections between fractions, decimals and percentage and consider how these skills are applied across the mathematics curriculum.

By the end of this subject knowledge course you will be able to:

  • Identify why students find the concept of fractions demanding.
  • Develop strategies to enable students to demonstrate their understanding, and use, of fractions.
  • Explore the links between fractions, decimals and percentages and become fluent in their application in differing contexts.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the mathematical structure - not just teach the ‘tricks’.
  • Solve mathematical problems in context.

Learning on this course

You will experience classroom-based teaching approaches designed to help your students to develop a deep understanding of these three inter-connected topics. Teaching resources are included throughout the course (for licensing reasons, you will need a STEM Learning account should you wish to access these resources).

We will introduce each section and then you’ll see examples and worked solutions in the videos on each step. After you’ve watched the videos, complete the questions we set and the discussion tasks throughout the course. You’ll discover that we place a lot of emphasis on being able to explain your reasoning, more on this in the next step.

Problem worksheets

Problem sheets are linked at the bottom of the first or second step in each week (under Downloads). Answers for problem sheets are available at the bottom of the final step for each week.

Course support

This course has three main ways to get support:

  • Course mentor, Steve Bunce, will be available in the discussions between 5 October - 29 November 2020.
  • Learn from other course participants, asking questions and supporting their understanding.
  • Join the STEM Learning Community Group to post questions for Q&A sessions with course educators, Michael Anderson and Steve Lyon, that will take place twice a year.


Start the course by sharing who you are, what you teach, and what brought you to this course.

Take a look at other learners’ posts. If you find someone who works in a similar context, you can use the Follow feature to keep track of what they’re sharing in the course and perhaps support each other.

Mark complete

When you complete a step on the course, click Mark as Complete at the bottom right. This helps you keep track of your progress. Mark over 90% of the course steps complete, get at least 70% on the end of course test, and you’ll be eligible for a Certificate of Achievement when you Upgrade.

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This video is from the free online course:

Maths Subject Knowledge: Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages

National STEM Learning Centre