How to Create a Fraction Strip Poster: A Performance Assessment of Vocabulary

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Students work in a real world context, demonstrating how fractions are built out of unit fractions, using visual fraction models to represent parts of a whole.

Big Idea

Student becomes teacher in a lesson where they are asked to create a fraction training video to show, explain, and compare fractions.

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

In our last lesson, the students built a fraction strip poster inside of a file folder.  This folder will become a fraction resource throughout our unit.  In order to be sure the students know what each strip represents and to develop the visualization of fractional pieces, students create a fraction strip poster training video.  

To warm up, I ask students to go around their table explaining how to fold and make each strip.  I also remind them to explain why each piece is named the way it is. 

I then share with the students that hey will be working with a partner to create a training video for other students that may want/need to create a fraction strip poster. 

Students are given basic sentence starters to help them in framing their thinking.  Some students really need these frames to organize their thoughts. Project based learning requires an explicit stage where students organize their thinking, set their objectives, and plan their actions. Sentence frames are particularly important tool for English Language Learners. As students make their film, they may use their own, more informal, language.

This group is beginning to gather their thoughts. Notice the use of the vocabulary.

Another critical aspect of this project is the use of appropriate vocabulary in a real world context. This is how vocabulary "comes to life" for students, and becomes a part of their spoken and written expression, and most critically, their thinking.

Active Engagement

25 minutes

As the students work, I roam and help if I can. However, since they are videotaping, I find I have to be quiet, which is a blessing!  By not talking and letting them do the whole presentation, I am able to really get a sense of their understanding and ability to use accurate vocabulary.  

This partnership explains how to create their poster, but doesn't "show" how to create the sections. My feedback to them is to think about what the audience might need to see and hear in order to learn this task - that the students already know.

This is what the girls came up with following our conversation. Can you find the misconception?


Wrap Up and Review

10 minutes

As a wrap up, students view each other's ShowMe's and commented on ways their own work is similar or different. Using a comparison format increases the rigor of the dialogue because students must describe their own thinking, a well as interpret the work of someone else, and then express this thinking clearly using mathematical vocabulary.

We then discuss what would make the task easier for them, if we did it again, and they gave me some very good feedback.

1.  Allow more time to write a script and practice acting out the training.

2.  Do a training video with them as an example.

3.  Make the groups larger so that one person can be the videographer while two others do the "acting".

Just ask the kids…they will tell you what they need!