Fractions Day 13: Never Too Easy!

Fun Friday!!! I was NOT going to do fractions today, but he said yesterday (Fractions Day 12) was too easy. I hate that phrase. It is never too easy, it either makes sense…or it doesn’t. So I figured I would push him on his understanding just a bit. I have found that using obnoxiously large/small numbers really gets at the heart of whether kids understand a concept. Making them ‘ridiculous!‘ makes it fun and allows kids to generalize their thinking to all numbers, not just the ones they are familiar with.

We stuck with unit fractions (fractions such as 1/2, 1/3, 1/5…) so we could generalize what the denominator represents in the fractions we have explored. (Day 14 we change up the numerators!)

  1. We revisited the comparison symbols. This was a struggle. It is important to note that Chris has Dyslexia, so symbols ‘fly around in his head‘. The greater than and less than symbols (< and >) are super tough, because they look the same to him (Like a b and a d in reading.) I changed the dry erase colors for each to help. Throughout this lesson, he knew which fraction was the largest, but needed help knowing how to draw the inequality symbol.
  2. I started with unit fractions that we had in our fraction kit, just in case he wanted to check his work. (He didn’t.) We started with 1/2 and 1/8. Which fraction is bigger? (1/2) How do you know? (Moooommmm…. look at it! 1/2 is this! Pointed to the white fraction strip. And 1/8 is this! Pointed to the brown fraction strip. So 1/2 is waay bigger.)Below are the unit fractions in his kit we explored. Note they are the same ones we did on Fractions Day . He didn’t notice!
  3. On the whiteboard, I wrote 1/6. Write a fraction that is larger than 1/6. (He wrote 1/2.) I wrote 1/6 < 1/2. Tell me what that number sentence means. (That 1/2 is bigger than 1/6.) Good enough for me! I then wrote 1/2. Write a fraction that is larger than 1/2. (I love this! He wrote 1. Well, it REALLY is 2/2 and that is bigger than 1/2! YESSSSS!!!!). We did one more from the fraction kit: 1/8. (He wrote 1/3 is larger.).
  4. The next one I wrote was 1/20. I loved his face! His eyes got big and he said, Man that is one small fraction! We had fun exploring different ridiculous numbers, writing fractions that were larger or smaller than the ones I gave.
How can you tell which unit fraction is smaller?

I asked Chris to summarize what we had learned. How can you tell, just by the fractions we used today, if one is smaller than another? In the above clip, you can hear his thinking. Not exact, not sophisticated, but honest and on the right track for the work we did today!

Write a fraction that is larger than mine.
Write a fraction that is smaller than mine.
Fractions Day 13: Never Too Easy!

2 thoughts on “Fractions Day 13: Never Too Easy!

  1. Love it! And his apparent strategy to double the denominator to make a smaller fraction. Love being able to see how his thinking is progressing, and how you’re building on what he already knows to fine-tune where to build next.


    1. This has been such an eye-opening experience. I have really enjoyed hearing how he understands the relationships! And it just reiterates the importance of doubling and halving!


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