Fractions were always challenging for me growing up. Maybe it's because I was simply expected to learn them through memorization and procedure. I don't recall teachers giving me fractions to manipulate and compare. I think times have changed! Teachers are putting fractional pieces in the students' hands for them to see firsthand how they work. One of the things I like to do when teaching fractions is to break out the pizza boxes from Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut donated some personal pan pizza boxes to my classroom. With a little help from parent volunteers and the laminating machine, I created a baggie full of fractional pieces for my students. Students dump all their fractional pieces into one side of the box that serves as a holding station. They "SHOW ME" what I ask for on the other side of the pizza box. You can do a lot of different activities with the pizza boxes and fractions. 1.) Identify fractions-Simply ask students to show you what 1/3 or 2/4 look like. 2.) Comparing fractions-Ask students to pull out two different fractions and compare which is larger/smaller. 3.) Reducing fractions-Pull out fractions that can be reduced and find the fractional pieces that match. For example, have students show you 4/8. Then ask them to find another piece that matches the same size as 4/8. (1/2) Demonstrate the mathematical procedure for reducing on dry erase boards or Smart board as you go. 4.) Adding or subtracting fractions-Pull out fractions with like denominators and add or subtract. 5/8 + 2/8 = 7/8. 5.) Identify fractional pieces that are MISSING. Have students show 2/3, but ask what part of the pizza is missing. If you're interested in learning more about the fractional pieces that fit into the Pizza Hut personal pan boxes, just click on the Fraction Frenzy image to grab them from my store! :-)
If you're into interactive notebooking, then be sure to investigate the newest addition to my math interactive notebooks. This 27 page unit is full of foldables, flips, cuts and sorts, etc. that allow students to be creative when learning about fractions, but adds the component of explaining their thinking. If they can write about it successfully, they know it! You can grab the Math Interactive Notebook-Fractions unit by itself, by clicking the image below OR if you want all 7 interactive notebooks bundled together, you can click that image as well (Cheaper to get them bundled!). They are designed for 3rd, but I'm hearing great success stories with 2nd and even 4th grade classrooms using them to either challenge kids or create a review for their students.
Bananas for Fractions that aren't so scary!