Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Introducing Fractions

Today I introduced fractions with a short little lesson that took about 30 minutes. I used 4 sheets of construction paper per student. Each student will need a pair of scissors and a markers. 

Here's what you'll end up with at the end of the lesson.

My students were thrilled the minute the scissors and markers were passed out. I had their attention...first part of the battle, right.

I started with the blue piece. I passed one to each student and explained that this would represent one whole. They wrote a 1 in the middle. 

Then, I passed out the green piece. Without using the words half or halves (tricky, trust me!) I walked them through folding and cutting the green paper into two pieces. I asked a series of questions until we were all in agreement that these were called halves and that you write the fraction 1 over 2. 

I continued with this same process for the other two colors. 

Then we spent some time discussing how many one-eighth pieces are needed to cover half, and how many one-fourth pieces are needed to cover half. Without knowing it, they were reasoning through some equivalent fractions on day 1 of this unit! Yahoo!!

I had one student show me his pieces laid out like this:  

He thought it was so cool that he made a neat pattern with his fraction pieces. 

Here's how our little conversation went:

ME: So, you have one-half and how many one-eighth pieces.
HIM: Four
ME: And four one-eighth pieces is how much?
HIM: Four-eighths...?
ME: Right, and how much of your one whole is covered by your one-half and your four-eighths?
HIM: The whole thing.
ME: Wonderful. So, one-half plus four-eighths must equal what?
HIM: One whole.

Now addition concepts on day one! I could have done a cartwheel right there in class. Nothing beats hands on math. Now get to your class and start cutting those fractions squares people!!      

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