Is it just me or does the word fractions make you ALL kinds of feelings?! I remember beginning to learn about fractions as a child and thinking, “This makes no sense” which later turned into “I hate fractions.” How many times have you heard that same sentiment from your students? Well let’s stop that today! While reading, you are going to learn about not only how to make learning about fractions fun and engaging, but also how to help students totally rock fractions and walk away with a deep understanding!
Build A Foundation
Why are fractions important? Well not only are students going to use fractions A LOT while in school, but we also use fractions everyday in our lives. Whether we are cooking dinner, paying a restaurant tab, and even when telling time. This is one of those skills that builds upon itself. Students begin by learning the basics of fractions and it continues to get more in depth and complex as they grow and learn more. So for our slice of the pie, it is important for students to truly understand halves and fourths so when they continue learning more about them in higher graders, we’ve built a solid foundation for them. So how the heck do we do that?!
Make it Concrete
Fractions are crucial for students to understand, but they can be a really challenging concept for some. When it comes to these super tricky math skills, I have a secret tool I love to use that has been a MAJOR game changer in our classroom. It’s called the CRA Model and it has got to be one of the best differentiation tools for teaching. Learn more about it HERE!
For fractions, we’re mostly going to focus on the C (concrete) part of the CRA Model since it is such a new concept for students and can be challenging for them. When I begin teaching fractions I like to bring out ALL the hands on manipulatives so that students can touch, feel, and manipulate fractions. This will help them develop a deep understanding of what fractions are and how we use them.
Setting the Stage
So first things first, we set the stage for students. One of the best and most ORGANIC ways to teach about fractions is by learning how to share equally! On our first day of our fractions unit, I love to start by reading the book, “Give Me Half”. This book is a great introduction to the importance of fractions and equal shares. After reading, partner students up and give them one cookie to share. Don’t tell them how to share the cookie, but tell them to make sure they each have equal shares. Not only will they have a great time, but this is a great exploratory lesson to begin discussing all those important pieces of fractions.
At the end of the lesson, bring students back together and have them discuss what they noticed while sharing their cookie and what they learned about fractions. While they share, begin to discuss those important terms like equal shares, partitioning, halves, and fourths. This is a great stopping point for the first lesson.
Hands On Fun
After setting the stage for fractions, now you can begin to teach students ALL the important vocabulary words and the importance of fractions. A great video that I love using to help introduce all those important concepts is Brainpop Jr. Basic Parts of a Whole. This provides students with more background about fractions. After watching the video, it’s time to have students practicing with fractions! Take a look at the anchor charts I love using below to help students understand all those important things about fractions.
Then it’s time to break out the Play Doh! Using Play Doh to build shapes and partition them is great learning AND fun! Who doesn’t love playing with Play Doh?! Students can practice making different shapes and partitioning those shapes into different fractions. Take a look at some of the great shapes students created with their Play Doh! While they work, this is a great time to use those important key words again like equal shares, partitioning, halves, and fourths.
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ALL the Fun
Fractions is one of the units that is perfect for creating a hands on experience for students. If students are touching and manipulating things, chances are we can make it some sort of game to play. Learn about why playing in the classroom is so important HERE! Not only do these games help students understand these concepts… but they are also SO fun! They are perfect for center activities and allow for students to practice fractions. Look below at some of the engaging ways students get practice with these skills.
Wrap up all that wonderful learning with this adorable math craft that will look perfect on the bulletin board!
Below you’ll see the jam packed math centers bundle that includes ALL these engaging activities and more… with a FREEBIE of course! This bundle will help you have engaging, fun, and hands on math activities for the ENTIRE YEAR. Make math a time your students are sure to love and remember! This is also a GROWING bundle because as I come up with more hands on ideas, I continue to add them to the bundle! So each new resource that gets included, you get for FREE!
I hope you enjoyed learning some fun ways to help students become fraction ROCKSTARS. This is a CRUCIAL life skill for students and the deeper the understanding of these skills, the better! Let’s help students not only be successful but have FUN doing it! I really hope you enjoyed learning more about how to teach fractions in the classroom! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Playdough Fractions FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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