A table of equivalent fractions depicts a series of fractions that use different numbers to express the same portion of a whole and illustrate that one portion can be represented in numerous ways. It helps students understand that there are many ways of stating the same amount.
Students at an early age learn that whole numbers represent different amounts, that three is greater than two, that adding and subtracting two numbers produce different amounts and that four does not equal five, so the concept of equivalent fractions can be confusing and difficult to understand since it seems to contradict what they have learned. The concept of fractions is often difficult to understand until they can apply it to something familiar.
One way of introducing equivalent fractions illustrates the idea with something familiar, such as a pie or a pizza. If someone bakes a pizza and puts cheese on only half, the pizza can be cut into any number of pieces and the portion of the pizza with cheese is the same. Only half of the pizza has cheese regardless of how many slices there are. A table of equivalent fractions provides a graphic illustration of this concept and makes it easier to understand.