Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fraction Unit Wrap-Up: Grade 4 Math in Focus Chapter 6

As I mentioned before, I needed to teach my fourth graders the third grade chapter on fractions this year.  Since it wasn't in the third grade standards, my district decided to move it up to fourth.  However, it worked out just fine, because there was a lot of overlap.  And I actually really enjoyed laying the groundwork for improper fractions and mixed numbers.  I could be sure that the concept of what fractions really are was fresh in their mind, as was finding equivalent fractions.  So I spent a week just on ways to represent a half before we moved on.

Next I asked students to refer back to the equivalent fractions they found when using the plastic fraction bar manipulatives.  I explained that when two different fractions, such as one yellow bar and 4 purple bars equal the same amount, they are called equal, or equivalent.  You can read about this in my equivalent fractions post or check out my fraction activities bundle preview.

Next, I had students write down a fraction that was equal to 1/3 and a fraction that was equal to 1/4 on two separate sticky notes.  I asked them to stick them anywhere on the board, and try to trick me.  "Pretend I'M the one who has to take this quiz!  I need to sort them into the correct boxes." 

Once this was done, I had them turn and talk with a partner about how they thought I figured it out so quickly.  The results went onto an anchor chart, "How Can You Tell if a Fraction is Equivalent to 1/3 or 1/4?"

Once they had a few different ways to explain the algorithm, they were ready for lots of practice using it.  And after another week of practice finding equivalent fractions and simplest form, (whether they practiced it in the context of adding, subtracting, comparing or ordering fractions with unlike denominators, finding equivalents and simplest form was the pervasive skill) I gave them their "third grade test" (Math in Focus, grade 3, chapter 14 test).  And I am proud to say NOT ONE STUDENT thought that 1/4 + 2/8 = 3/12.  They were so comfortable with the concept of denominators being a different fraction altogether that the thought did not even cross their minds.  Not every single kid found the equivalent correctly, and many of them didn't pay attention to the direction to "write your answer in simplest form," but those were learning lessons for another day (I sat that half of the class down and showed them "the most popular wrong answers" and lots of them said "hey, that's what I wrote......ohhhhhhh!").  

It was time to move on to the fourth grade unit. Next time I'll write about improper fractions and mixed numbers.

1 comment :

  1. Fractions are so tough! Just when you think they've got it and you move on to the next concept, they forget what a fraction is. You explain things very well in your post. Thanks for sharing.

    I love the name of your blog! I'm your newest follower. Stop by and visit me when you get a chance. ;)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings


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