Fractions Day 1: Naming Fractions

Welcome to Fractions!!!! They are truly our FRIENDS.

These are the lessons I am doing with my 8 year old around fractions. His prior experiences with fractions are:

  • Cooking with me, but let’s be real. He likes to break the eggs and lick  the bowl, so not a whole lot of fraction work going on.
  • The week of flu that he was stuck home with me last year and we played with fraction circles.
  • Whatever they have done in school, which for us isn’t a lot of fraction work until next year.

Many of you might be asking why I am teaching him lessons with fractions (since it really isn’t his grade-level ). I figured that it was new and would be exciting for him versus spending ANOTHER month on regrouping with addition and subtraction. We will get back to that, but the kid needs a break.

Each of these lessons will be 15-20 min. For 8-10 year olds, doing focused work one-on-one with you for that amount of time is plenty.

Our first lesson was creating what Marilyn Burns called a Fraction Kit. You will need one fraction kit per person, including you. These will be used for the next few weeks for many of our lessons.

Materials: 5 different colored construction paper (we will need more colors many days later), scissors, sharpie or black marker

  1. Prior to the lesson, cut the paper so that you retain the length of the construction paper but the width is 3-4 inches. Make every strip the same width.
  2. Have your child choose one of the colors. Chris chose blue. Write on your blue strip length-wise “1 whole” towards the left of the strip. Your child does the same on theirs.
  3. Child chooses a second color. Chris chose pink, because it is Mom’s favorite. (Suck-up!). Help your child fold it in half (see picture).
    1. How many pink pieces make the whole strip of blue? (2)
    2. What do we call one of the pink pieces? (half, or one-half).  Write 1/2 and the word “half” on each of your pink pieces. Your child does the same on theirs. Cut on the fold so that you have 2-halves.
    3. Lay one of the pink on the blue whole. Have your child choral count with you “1- half, 2-halves” which equals 1 whole. On the blue, you both write 2/2 to show it also represents the whole strip.
  4. Child chooses a third color. Chris chose purple. Help your child fold it in half, then half again.
    1. Before they open it back up ask, “How many parts will you have?”  They can open it up to reveal the amount of equal parts. (4)
    2. How many equal pieces do we have? (4)
    3. What would we name one of them? (1-fourth, since it is 1 out of four equal parts that make the whole strip.) Write 1/4 on each of the four parts. Have your child do the same and cut them out.
    4. Lay one of the fourths on the blue strip. Choral count with your child as they lay them side-by-side on their blue strip. “1- fourth, 2-fourths, 3-fourths, 4-fourths (which is the whole strip). Both write 4/4 on the blue strip.
  5. Repeat for eighths and sixteenths. Choral counting is super important, as it builds the importance of what the numerator represents (the number of pieces you have) and the denominator represents (how many equal parts made the whole strip). 

  6. If time, have them consider the following questions, using their new pieces to convince you of their answer.
    1. Which is bigger: 1/2 or 1/4? Why?
    2. Which is bigger: 1/8 or 1/4? Why?
    3. Which is bigger: 1/2 or 1/16? Why?
  7.  Extension: Have your child build the following using their fraction strips. Make them choral count the pieces to convince you they represented the fraction correctly. I cannot emphasize the importance of choral counting fractions. They simply cannot do it enough.2/4
    1. 5/8
    2. 7/16
    3. 8/8 What strip is this the same as? (1)
    4. Their choice!

Explain tomorrow they will get to play a game with their fraction strips! I keep them separate in gallon baggies with our name on each bag.

Happy Naming!

Fractions Day 1: Naming Fractions

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