Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More Fun with Fractions

Last week, I blogged about using fraction tiles and Kidspiration with fractions as we started our fraction unit and began with reviewing the skills related to simplifying. In class we are moving forward in our fraction unit and I wanted to share a fun way we discussed looking at parts of a group and writing our answers as a fraction, parts to a whole. 
To introduce the concept of expressing an answer in a fraction form we talked about the number of girls in the class as compared to the total in our class. Then as we looked at the fraction, I asked them what the fraction meant. This might seems like a silly questions, but I wanted to emphasize that it wasn't 10/18 of a girl, it was 10 out of 18. When phrased that way they chuckled and started to catch on to what I was talking about. Then we talked about how we could find the number of boys in the class without counting them and instead using the fraction we already had. I was thrilled when they caught on to subtract to find the other fraction. We did a few more classroom related problems to help them connect to viewing fractions as ratios. (If you want a great fractions in the classroom activity, check out the one Joanne blogged about on Head Over Heels for Teaching.) 
Then, using a PowerPoint projected on the board, we practiced a little more using scenarios similar to ones they might encounter on a test. To personalize the problems and maintain their attention I used my students' names in the scenarios; that was a huge hit with my crew. As we worked through the problems I reviewed simplifying and used lots of math vocabulary.
Some problems were straight forward based on the details in the story, the others required subtracting to find the amount remaining. In the second set of problems instead of just asking them to write the answer in lowest terms, I asked them to explain how they knew it was in lowest terms.
During the review of the problems we talked about importance of where I place my numbers and that order is important. The 4 simple stories lead to a great class discussion. 
To wrap things up students were given a half sheet of the frames and wrote their own problems with a partner. 
Here are pictures of some created by my mathematicians. 

 You probably cannot read what the first one says, but it is one that elicited a lot of giggles, made me blush, and had me shaking my head. So here is a recap, "Mrs. Henderson has 3 kids and she wants to have 5 kids {gasp!} in total. How many more kids does she need? {Answer: 0, my kiddos are great but man they keep me busy! More = institutionalized My hubby had a good laugh at that one too. His answer about insanity was equivalent to mine!} They earned credit for their creativity and trying so hard!
But that wasn't it, they had more wonder up their sleeve. Here was their follow up. 
T was making a fundraiser for Mrs . Henderson's future five kids. She got $1,260 and she needs $2,000. How many dollars does she need to collect? 
Loved it! 
They really did well with their story writing and the conversations about their problems were authentic learning and I know they are going to remember how to solve this type of problem because they had to think through how to write one. 
To finish off our lesson I projected their problems and had them read them to the class and then the class solved to find the answer. We ran out of time but I have promised them that they will see the stories as morning work and for once I might not have to remind them to get started. 
The simple frames and sample stories turned in to a really great lesson with lots of smiles, math talk, a few giggles, and lots of learning. 
If you are looking for some other math ideas check out I Heart Recess and the M is for Mathematical Monday links



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