In my years of teaching 4th and 5th graders, I often came across many students who didn’t quite grasp the concept of fractions. Sure many knew to identify the number of shaded parts in a whole. But when it came to finding equivalent fractions or classifying fractions, many students struggled. Keeping that all in mind, as I started teaching my son fractions, I wanted to give him many hands on opportunities to really understand the whole concept.
I’m presenting the unit to you as I presented it to my son in a dialogue format or as a semi lesson plan.
So I introduced the lesson by activating prior knowledge by asking questions like (You could use questions about driving, sports, carpentry as per your child’s interest):
“Have you had a pie before?
Did you eat the whole pie or a piece/part of it?”
“You like watching football. How many quarters are there in a football game?”
“When mommy gave you the chocolate bar yesterday, did you eat the whole bar or did you share half of it with your brother? “
“When we made pancakes today mornings, how much sugar did we use?”
“So E, we use fractions in our everyday life. We use it while driving, or for constructing homes or in sports.”
Then I pulled out the fraction foam circles & rectangles that I’ve had from my teaching years. (you can find these online or in any teaching stores.) You could also use a piece of paper -cut paper into halves, thirds, fourths etc)
I showed the whole circle and said,
“This is a whole.”
“This is one half.”
“When you divide the whole into 2 equal pieces, you get one half.” I then placed the halves over the whole to demonstrate.
“This is one third.” “When you divide the whole into 3 equal pieces, you get one third.” Place the thirds over the whole to demonstrate.
I continued this until the eighths (which is what the circle fraction I had went up to).
Then to assess his knowledge on the content, I asked him to show me certain fractions. (I kept all the fractions laid out on the floor)
“Can you point to one fourth?” “Can you point to 1/8?”
I’d point to one half and say “what is this fraction called?”
Conclusion of the lesson:
So E, “fraction is a number representing a part of a whole”. “ Everyday we use fractions in some kind of way. Let’s pay attention to all the ways we’ll use fraction this week.”
We also read the following books:
Full House by Dayle Ann Dodds
Working with Fractions by David A Adler
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