Word Problems – Add & Subtract Fractions


With our Word Problems – Add & Subtract Fractions lesson plan, students learn how to solve word problems that contain the addition or subtraction of fractions. Students solve problems and write their own word problems as a part of this lesson.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to have students create a poster that shows a variety of strategies that they can use to solve fraction word problems for adding and subtracting.

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What our Word Problems – Add & Subtract Fractions lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Word Problems – Add & Subtract Fractions teaches students how to interpret and solve word problems that require the addition or subtraction of fractions. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to solve fraction addition and subtraction problems using models and other strategies. This lesson is for students in 5th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the blue box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The only supplies needed for this lesson are the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can pair students for the activity and copy the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. You can adjust the lesson activity by increasing or decreasing the number of problems, or by using the problems for a class quiz or test. An optional addition to this lesson is to have students create pictures and exchange them with other students to create fraction word problems. Students could also create a poster that shows a variety of strategies that they can use to solve fraction word problems for adding and subtracting.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Adding/Subtracting Word Problems

The Word Problems – Add & Subtract Fractions lesson plan includes three pages of content. The lesson begins by stating that while students have solved many addition and subtraction problems, they often find word problems difficult because they aren’t sure whether they’re supposed to add or subtract. Luckily, there are keywords that we can use to identify the right operation. The lesson reviews some common keywords for addition and subtraction. Addition keywords include plus, sum, total, in all, and added to. Subtraction keywords include minus, difference, change, take away, and less than.

Some other strategies that students may already be familiar with for solving word problems are drawing pictures, making charts or lists, and taking notes. We can also use these same strategies to help solve word problems that include the addition or subtraction of fractions!

Add & Subtract Fraction Word Problems

Solving word problems with fractions is not very different from solving word problems with whole numbers. The primary difference is that most of the numbers are fractions! The lesson provides an example problem about pizza to illustrate this. The example problem uses the phrase in all, which tells us that it’s an addition problem, and that we must add together all of the pieces of pizza that Ryan ate. He ate 1/4 of one pizza and 1/8 of another. First, we have to find the common denominator, 8, and then add the fractions together using the new fractions (2/8 and 1/8). All in all, he ate 3/8ths of the pizza. Pictures would also be helpful to solve this problem.

We know this answer is correct because it’s a reasonable answer to the problem – he ate three pieces. An unreasonable answer could have a result that’s less than one of the addends. It’s important to remember that the results must be reasonable. We can also use mental math to add, subtract, or create equations that help us solve the problem.

The lesson then delves into two more example problems. The first is a subtraction problem that we can solve using a similar method to the first example (find the common denominator and solve). However, the third example is one that can be solved using mental math, since there’s already a common denominator.

There are many different methods and strategies that we can use to solve word problems with fractions, like identifying keywords, drawing pictures, and more!


The Word Problems – Add & Subtract Fractions lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work with a partner to complete the activity. They will create two addition, two subtraction, and two mixed fraction word problems, They should make sure to use keywords that will help other students solve their problems, and will create an answer key to accompany their problems.

Students can work either alone or in groups for this activity if you’d prefer.


The practice worksheet asks students to read and solve word problems that require them to add or subtract. They will solve five of these problems and will then create a word problem using the provided picture.


For the homework assignment, students will use the provided chart to answer five word problems.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


5th Grade



State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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