Teddy Bear Picnic

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SWBAT divide shapes into 4 equal parts.

Big Idea

Go back to the picnic and have students show how to divide a shape into fourths!

Hook & Objective

5 minutes

CCSS Context:

The CCSS asks that students understand the concepts of fourths and halves with circles, rectangles and squares. This lesson has students fold shapes to make sure that each share is equal. This hands on, concrete practice is great for first grade students as they develop their understanding of fractions and equality. This also gives students an opportunity to use appropriate tools strategically (MP5)-students have to manipulate the concrete shape to divide it equally.

Review Learning:

When we talked about the word “equal”, we talked about how equal means the same, or fair. Sometimes when we use the word fair, it’s when we had to share something. Yesterday two people shared some foods on a picnic. Today we are going to go on another picnic, but this time 4 people are going to share all the foods, we call these 4 equal parts “fourths”.


Think of a time you shared something with someone and it wasn't "fair". We want to make sure we understand how to divide things equally so everyone gets the same amount and it is fair.


Today your thinking job is: How can I split a shape into 4 equal amounts, or fourths, so that 4 people can share the picnic food? 


Opening Discussion

10 minutes

Today we are going to be sharing some things with a partner when we pretend to go on a picnic! Yesterday 2 people shared food equally, we call those halves.

But now we are going to talk about another fraction. It is called a fourth. We create fourths when 4 people want to share something equally. Fourth is easy to remember, because it has the word 4 in it!

Present Circle: Today I am bringing Cookies on my picnic, and I want 3 other friends to share it with me so each of has a fair share.

  • Why do the pieces have to be equal? 
  • Am I going to make halves for 4 people to share it? No! Why can’t I just fold it in half? 

Check for Understanding: Watch how I fold this paper to make fourths, or make 4 equal parts of the cookie. If you think it is fair, I want you to show a thumbs up; If you think it isn’t equal, show a thumbs down.

  • I’ll show a few different folds. One will be thirds, one will be halves, etc. Lastly, I’ll show one way to do fourths.
  • Focus question after each fold: Are these fourths? Why or why not?

After I finally do the 4 equal shares, I’ll says: Now we made fourths-four equal parts. I am going to give my friend one of the parts, or one fourth. How much did I give my friend? One fourth.

We create fourths when 4 people want to share something equally. One fourth is just one of those equal pieces.

Represent on chart paper: Now that I showed my brownie, I am going to shade, or color in, the part that I am eating. What do I need to color? What math word do we use to describe this? (one fourth)

Student Work Time & Share

15 minutes

Here is one of the placemats from earlier this week.  

Present Problem: Four people want to share this placemat for the picnic. How can I make sure everyone has the same amount of space on this placemat?

  • How many shares will there need to be?
  • Partner talk: How will you divide this into equal shares?

Work Time:

Kids each get a “placemat” (piece of construction paper) to work with and start trying to figure out how to make it into fourths. If students finish early, they can write/tell a partner how they are sure it is equal.

Student Share:

Partner talk: How did you fold your placemat? How do you know it is fourths?

I’ll show a few placemats that I folded- One that has 4 equal parts, one that has 4 unequal parts, one that has 3 parts, one that has 2 parts.

  • Partner talk: Which placemat is divded into fourths?

Restate: We create fourths when 4 people want to share something equally. One fourth is just one of those equal pieces.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Directions: Students cut and fold each shape (pretending the shapes are all parts of their picnic lunches), divide the shape into fourths, and record how they did this on their recording sheet.

Possible Extension: Students show multiple ways to divide each shape into fourths. They would need 2 recording sheets to show their thinking. 

The recording sheet and each part of the picnic is attached. 


5 minutes

Bring students back together and do a gallery walk of other students shapes. A gallery walk is a way for students to get to see a lot of different visuals. In this case, I had each student lay their shapes on the rug to show how they divided into fourths.

To make gallery walks most effective, it is best to give students a thinking job as they walk. Mine was: Compare the shapes you see from other people. Think-are they the same as mine or different? 

  • This thinking job gives students an opportunity to look for patterns and trends amongst other student's work, which is aligned to MP8, Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Watch Our Gallery Walk to see all of this in action!

After a gallery walk, I always give students a few minutes to debrief what they saw as they walked. 

Listen in to my class' debrief here: Debriefing the Gallery Walk. I was so excited to see all of the things they noticed about how other people showed fourths!