We have been working with fractions for like the past 7 weeks in third grade. I have to say, I am not complaining, because this is one of my favorite topics to cover in Math. The reason being, my students are "thrilled to pieces!" right now with Math.
One of the very first things we do when tackling fractions is to create our very own "Fraction Kits". If you haven't done this with your students during your fraction instruction, not only are you missing out on having a powerful hands-on tool that they can use over and over, but you are missing on a key opportunity for some real honest- to -goodness direct instruction with fractions! Building these kits is almost as important as having them to use for future lessons.
Plus, it is a cheap way to get fractions into everyone's hands. Even if I did have plastic fraction pieces (which I don't ) I am pretty sure that they would be gathering dust on the bottom shelf of my Math bookcase.
So, do you want to tackle the task of making fraction kits with your students? I promise you will not be disappointed. Check out the directions and pics below. Let me know how it went. I love to hear from you all and I will be back with some more of my recent fraction escapades.
Playing Cover-Up with our fraction kits
Fraction Kit Directions:
You will need 6 different colors of construction paper. It is best to use the 12 x 18 paper. Cut each paper into 6 strips (12x3).
Each student will get 1 strip of each color.
1. Start with 1 color and have the students label it "1 whole".
2. Have them take the second color and fold the strip in half. Teach them the proper techniques for folding- making sure to line up the edges and make a good crease for accuracy. This will be important in future steps. Have the students label each side as 1/2. Then they will cut the strip on the crease. Discuss what it means to be "1/2" of the whole and let the students place each piece on "the whole".
3.With the third strip students will be making thirds. This can be quite tricky for them, so you will need to show them how to "eyeball" the strip as they fold it to make 3 equal parts. Students will label each section as 1/3 and then cut them apart on the creases. Let students explore covering the "halves" and "the whole". Continue the discussion about how many pieces it takes to cover each larger piece. You could begin to talk about equivalency at this point.
4. Continue with the last three strips making fourths, sixths and eigths. As students are exploring each new denominator- this is a good time to talk about the accumulation of fractions (1/3 + 1/3 +1/3 = 3/3).
5. Finally, have your students stack each group on top of the whole. Then fold the whole piece over and paper clip it to keep it secure. My students keep their kit in their Math folders so that they can easily get it out of their desks during Math instruction.
Stop back in for a look at some great games to play with your Fraction Kits.
This material has been adapted from, Marilyn Burns.