Fraction Activities That Matter with a Freebie
This month, I've been working with some fabulous kids in an online fraction class. They are doing a fantastic job learning virtually, but it has driven home some points that I thought would be good to reflect upon this week:
Fractions are worthless if you don't have any meaning. We do what we can when with fraction pieces and strips. However, students have to have a foundational understanding of a whole and what it means to have part of a whole. As I've been recording new videos for my membership library, I'm emphasizing this as students begin learning about shapes in Kindergarten and Grade 1. They can learn that a shape can be folded to make new shapes or equal parts. This foundation is so helpful moving forward!
Real-life experience can be a game changer. You may have heard me say that I love baking. My kids make fun of me, because I'm totally a stress baker. When things are crazy, I need to make muffins or cookies! I don't even want to eat them. I just want to bake! My children at a young age have used measuring cups and spoons. We have talked about reading a recipe and seeing the fractions and what they mean. This is creating a real meaning for fractions moving forward. Whenever I talk about 1/2 of something, they can picture that measuring cup. I firmly believe that this real-life experience can help students as they begin to perform operations with fractions.
Models mean everything! As I mentioned before, we want students to see fractions in a variety of ways- through shapes, fraction circles, fraction strips, and even number lines. It's important that students see that a whole can be represented in a lot of ways and that fractions can break apart that whole. We must provide different models for them to make sense of the meaning of a whole. (You can check out some of my favorite fraction math manipulatives in this post. This post does contain affiliate links.)
Vocabulary is part of the experience. There are so many vocabulary words when learning about fractions. Until recently, it has dawned on me that I need to think like a reading teacher here. I want to create activities that students can do to work on math vocabulary. Whether it's a word wall (including word and example- not definition) or even some form of graphic organizer for vocabulary, students can apply their reading skills to make sense of math terms. (You can grab this FREEBIE by clicking below. If you use it, let me know! I would love to see your pictures and share them!)
Math facts are always part of the process. You know we are going to come back to this. Math facts matter, and when working with fractions, multiplication and division facts make a huge difference. It might be helpful to spend 5-10 minutes of each day working on Level 2 or Level 3 math fact strategies to help students work towards automaticity. (No idea what I'm talking about? Check out over 22 leveled activities to help students master their multiplication and division facts for REAL!)
Practice is essential. Students need several opportunities to work with fractions. They need to make connections between models and work in a fun way that matters. I love to use the concrete, play lots of hands-on games and even do some digital activities. You may want to check out my Fraction Cookie Bakery performance task which allows students to have a meaning for working with fractions or my Olympic Level Math games that just include hands-on games to help students practice working within fractions. Until then, I would love for you to check out this free digital resource practicing equivalent fractions. Just click below and make a copy of this Google Slide presentation. Then, encourage students to stock their bakery using this fun game!
When working with fractions, it is vital that we give our students so many experiences with real-life objects, math tools and opportunities to put it into practice! Leave me a comment about how you help your students love and understand fractions! Then, grab your free downloads by clicking on the images!