Close to 0, Close to 1/2, Close to 1

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Students will be able to make reasonable estimates about the value of a fraction

Big Idea

Playing with fractions is only part of the whole unit!


When you show a student the fraction 256/300 they may say they don't know what it means.  You may get comments such as that is a really, really big fractions or it is really small because it the denominator is a really big number and that breaks it into really small pieces.  To help students visualize this is close to 1 or a whole I have my students play this game.  It is a fun game kids love to play and it reinforces or helps teach the benchmark fractions as well as the value of  fractions.  The prep on this one is easy for you too! Just print fraction pieces and copy.

Playing the Game - Engaging Students

30 minutes

 Watch the video on how I taught my students to play the game.  As I was going over the rules I had them review and reinforce the comparison of numerator to denominator.  I didn’t bring up size of the fraction the numbers would create but some of my 5th graders noted that the bigger the denominator the smaller the fraction.  (I teach student in a multiage 4th and 5th grade class.  My 4th graders cycle with me into 5th grade.) 

Once you have passed out the fraction cards you are going to have students who finish cutting out their pieces before their partner.  You can give them instructions to practice sorting their pieces before they play. 

Students Sorting

Once you have done this activity once you could collect the pieces to use in the future but I have my students cut them out every time.  It not only gives them a time to look at the fractions but also puts manipulatives in their math folders to use at another time.  Keep a supply of envelopes around for students to glue into their folder to store manipulatives.  Another hint is at the end of the year I send home a letter/email that asks parents to go through the math journal and folders with their kids over the summer.  The journal and folders have the manipulatives for the kids to review the concepts over the summer. Practice and then play!

I've included the answers for anyone that wants to use the strategy work backwards. 

An extension I added when students finished or had done a couple of rounds was to ask them to put the fraction pieces in order from least to greatest. 

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Every lesson should end with student reflection.  This will double retention of the concept being taught.  I ask my students three questions during this part of the lesson.    

What did you learn from this lesson?

I learned that even if the fraction has large numbers it is still less than one whole piece – it is a part of a whole. 

I learned how to compare fractions?

What did you learn about yourself from this lesson? 

I learned that the big numbers in the fractions don’t have to make me nervous.  I can figure it out. 

I learned that math is fun!!!

What did you do that made this lesson successful?  If you didn’t what will you do next time? 

I realized my partner didn’t understand how to match the fractions so I explained it to them.

I wanted to goof around instead of play the game.  Now my partner isn’t happy.  I will try to do better next time.