In today's lesson, the students practice what they have learned about fractions. They use visual models to help them compare fractions problems, find equivalent fractions, and change improper fractions to mixed numbers and mixed numbers to improper fractions. This relates to 4.NF.A1 AND 4.NF.A2 because the students must determine equivalency and compare fractions by drawing visual models.
Because the students have been working on fractions for a couple of weeks now, I feel that using games to practice the skills will energize the students and keep them focused on learning. From teaching over the past 14 years, I have found that students enjoy activities that are fun. As teachers, we enjoy the fact that even though the students are having fun, they are still learning.
Before I send the students to their center activity, I review all that has been learned to this point. I ask a few questions of the students. First, "Describe a fraction?" Student responses: It has a numerator and a denominator, it can be an improper fraction if the top number is bigger than the bottom number, the top number tells you how many to get, and the bottom number tells you how many pieces there are. "When may you need to use a fraction in the real-world?" (It is very important to let the students know that the skill is relevant to their lives. If they feel that it is relevant, then they tend to work a little harder.) Student responses: When I share something with my friends, when we eat cake that has been cut into pieces, and when we eat pizza.
I let the students know that fractions are important in our everyday lives. For instance, I always like to treat all students fairly. What if we were having a party. If two parents bought pizza. One parent cut the pizza into eighths, and the other parent cut the pizza into sixteenths. I give out the pizza cut into eighths until all the slices are gone. When I give the other students the pizza that is cut into sixteenths, then I will give them 2/16 because I want you all to have the same amount.
I tell the students, "Today, you will practice your skills in centers. Even though you will be playing games, you must stay focused on the skills. We've already discovered that fractions are important to all of our lives."
I have the students count off by 6. I send the groups to centers based upon their numbers. The students will practice the activities listed below at the centers. The students use the tools strategically (MP5), as well as model (MP4) the fractions to help compare the fractions.
Change Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers and Mixed Numbers to Improper Fractions
The students practice the skill on the computer at the following websites:
Equivalent Fractions – Go Fish
The students practice finding equivalent fractions by playing Go Fish. Each student has 4 fraction cards in their hands. The first person asks their partner for a fraction. For example, if they have ½ in their hand, they may ask, “Do you have an equivalent fraction for 1/2? If the partner does not have the fraction, they tell the person to Go Fish. The student pulls a card from cards that have been laid face down. If they find an equivalent fraction, they can take the two cards out of their hands. If they do not, they must keep the two cards along with the other cards in their hands. Take turns until one person has gotten rid of all of his/her cards. (The Go Fish Math Cards.docx can be found in the resource section.)
The students practice comparing fractions with different denominators. The first student rolls two number cubes. The student forms the first fraction by writing the smallest number as the numerator and the largest number as the denominator. The student rolls the number cubes again to form the second fraction. The student has 2 minutes to compare the fraction using strategies learned in class. If they get the answer correct, they get a point. The student with the most points wins the game. (Materials needed per pair of students: 2 game cubes and timer)
To close the lesson, I bring the class back as a whole. I allow the students to share their experiences with the activities. I feel that it is always important to come back together as a whole before closing out the class. This gives me the opportunity to address any misconceptions that I saw or heard while the students were participating in the activities.
Some students are still working on perfecting their models. It takes them a while to get it right, but they do. This is evident in the Student Work sample. The student had to erase quite a bit, but both fractions are represented with the same whole, and the pieces are divided as accurately as possible.