Find the Fraction of This Set "Smartie"

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Students will be able to model, name, and write fractions in a set.

Big Idea

Students are accustomed to partitioning single objects. This lesson requires students to look at sets of objects as a whole and create equal groups.


10 minutes

After a tough lesson yesterday, I decide to slow down and dive into the more basic concepts of naming fractions of a set in order to be sure all of my students had an understanding of the foundations. 

To warm up, I place 12 tiles (4 green, 6 yellow, and 2 blue) on the board. I assign partners to discuss what each color name would be, knowing that the set was our WHOLE.  They are also to discuss how they knew this.  

When students finish this task and we share out as a group, I invite those that may know another way of naming 4/12, 1/2 and 2/12 to share.  Some say the yellow could be 1/2 or 6/12.  Another person notices the array formed and replies that 4/12 is "like" 1/3.  

I then place a new task on the board by stating that there are 18 tiles in my whole set.  I know 1/2 of the set is red.  I then stop and have the student partnerships discuss what number of red tiles I should place on the board. (9) 

Next I tell students that 1/3, or 1 group out of 5 groups, is green and have them come up with that number…6. 

The last clue is to figure out how many of the tiles need to be yellow, if I know their number equals 1/6 of the set. (3)

Active Engagement

20 minutes

Now, comes the fun part!  I hold up a WHOLE bag of Smarties and tell the students that it represents our ONE.  Then I ask them to tell me how I could possibly share the ONE bag with all of them.  Obviously they quickly let me know to just open it up and "share" them equally.

Before I can share, I let them know, they must complete a task :)  The task is to treat one roll of Smarties as a Whole and name a few fractions.  I pass out the recording form and take questions from them. I do not explain what to do, just that this task is about fractions of a set, like we have been discussing.  

I give each student a roll, which is a math TOOL.  They will throw these away after completion and turn their work in to me for a fresh roll to have after lunch…YUM!

Working with several students, I realize they are not sure how to explain a unit fraction, although they repeatedly label them correctly.  As I work with this student, she is finally able to see it and explain.

This girl asks me for help on writing her understanding of 0/15, which represented her fraction of blue Smarties.

I am happy to see this student organize in this way, as it is an important skill and a nice way to quickly look back and check for understanding later when students compare the greatest and least amount of colors.  I will make sure to share this at the sharing section of the session.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Sometimes to wrap up a lesson, I like to do a quick "lightening share" where the students must tell me something they know about a topic without repeating any other response.  It gets harder as we get near the end.  Here are two students responding towards the end to the prompt, "What do you know about fractions?".

As we go through the room, the responses either get more involved, or simpler, as the group struggles to list all they can about a subject. This student was near the beginning, so he is explaining what a denominator is. 

This boy was left "with all of his answers stolen!".  Therefore, he kept it simple, yet very important.