Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fraction action!

I know it's been a while since I posted anything useful so hopefully this will make up for it!

This week we've been looking at fractions. It's early days for my guys. For now, we are focusing on wholes, halves, quarters and eighths.

I've been getting some wonderful advice from a maths guru who is doing some training at our school at the moment. He's really opened my eyes to the importance of linking maths to reality.

I've realised that it is easy for teachers to dive straight into the 'maths' of mathematics (if that makes sense).

When you think of addition, you think '+'.

When you need to teach multiplication you think 'x' and arrays.

What the little ones really need is for maths to make sense to them. They need to be able to link it and see it and experience in some sort of reality. If (when) you do that, you'll start to see that the kids will link the maths that you do teach to reality on their own. It's like their eyes open to the maths around them and you'll start hearing things like "Mum cut my orange into eighths today" or "You can divide our hundred board into half at 50 and quarters at 5".

It's exciting!!!

So, here's some snaps from our fraction action so far:
Our fraction action began with a 'fraction hunt' where we located things in our school and classroom that were either 1 whole part, 2 equal parts, 4 equal parts or 8 equal parts. I printed off some photos and have made a 'Fraction Action' display in our classroom that we are still adding to as we do more activities.

I didn't want to introduce the mathematical language straight away. The focus was connecting to reality.
The next lesson, we represented what we found on our hunt using abstract materials. We glued matchsticks into our scrapbooks and wrote sentences to match them. In another lesson, we used play dough as 'oranges' and made 2, 4 and 8 equal parts.


*Side note*

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have already seen this picture that I put up of the MOST AMAZING play dough that I've ever made, EVER!

It is seriously the BEST recipe I've ever used. I got it from here (click on the pic):

Thank you, Anna! It is amazing! I will never use any other recipe. So easy to clean up, too!


Back on track again, I then began to introduce the language of halves, quarters an eighths. Some little smarties, of course, already knew these words. This is heading away from the abstraction of the concept and moving towards the actual mathematics that I want them to learn.

We also did some fun games where they had to get into pairs, where they became two parts of one whole. Then one half (one student) had to sit down and one half (the other student) had to sit down.

They then had to join with another pair and became 4 parts of one whole and then joined together with another group of 4 and became 8 parts of one whole. The whole time the kids were using the language of halves, quarters, eighths and wholes.

After that, they went back to their desks and drew pictures of what they did with the game. It was great! It was such an easy way to see which little ones had understood and were using the kinaesthetic activity to draw a representation in their scrapbooks.

We had so much fun! Next week we're going to do some more fun activities.

How do you teach fractions???


  1. Love it Shanyn! I do some similar things when I teach fractions, we find pictures in magazines that show a whole and then we cut it into parts eg a picture of 4 pillows and we cut 1 pillow away and label it 1/4. I absolutely agree that students need to see how maths is part of our everyday lives. Great post Shanyn!
    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

  2. The old homeschool favourite is to teach fractions when cooking, using the full set of cup measures. I also use Lego, certain food items (Scotch finger biscuits are great for halves and quarters!), etc.

    Found this story book:
    Tis from a great Pinterest board:

    Sorry for the messy post!
    And the teaching fractions videos by MathMammoth on YouTube

    And I like this post on the language of math(s)

  3. Shanyn, you have been so busy! The 4minute play dough recipe is the recipe that use. I double up the plastic gloves and you can handle it better that way!


  4. Shanyn, you have been so busy! The 4minute play dough recipe is the recipe that use. I double up the plastic gloves and you can handle it better that way!


  5. Aww, what fun you had! I love the pictures of where fractions are in your classroom!

    Teaching Maths with Meaning