Today I review writing fractions during the warm up. I want to make sure that students remember which is the numerator (up north) and which is the denominator (dungeon). I put up a circle divided into 4 parts with 3 parts shaded, on the board. I ask students to record the fraction in their math journals. We check our work by having a volunteer come up and write the fraction on the board.
I show several other fractional parts and we write and check. I am looking to make sure that most of the students understand how to write a fraction. I know that there will be a few students who still are not understanding how a fraction works, and I will need to support those students through the next part of the lesson as they build this foundation.
For this section of the lesson I invite students to the rug. I hand out 8 snap block tall towers to each student. Each tower has 2 colors of blocks.
Now I ask them to take 4 blocks of either or both colors. I tell them to set the rest of the blocks behind them because for now we are only using 4. I ask them to tell me, "if I have 1 tower of 4 and I take away 1 block, what fraction did I take? (1/4). I repeat this with 3/4 and 1/2 or 2/4. I know that some students will notice that when they took half of the blocks, it was the same as the 2/4 that they took. I address this by asking students if they are ever called by more than 1 name? I say that I am called by my full name sometimes, by my first name, at home I am called mom. Fractions can have more than 1 name too. They will find that the same amount of a whole can have more than 1 name.
Now I ask students to build the same blocks into a square. How many pieces are in the square? (4) Each one is called? (one quarter). (I want to introduce the terms one fourth and one quarter to students because they will hear both in different situations. If they are talking about money or time they may talk about quarters. If they are talking about a sharing with 3 friends they would get one fourth of the cookie.) Ok now if I have the square but one piece is missing - please take 1 piece away - what fraction is missing? (1/4) What fraction is needed to make the whole? (1/4). I repeat this with 2/4.
Now I want you to take a tower of all 8 pieces. Did you notice that the whole now has how many pieces? (8). The whole of something can be divided into any number of pieces. The important thing with fractions is to find out how many equal pieces the whole is divided into. Now I ask students what fraction of each color do you have? I ask them to turn and tell a neighbor what fraction of each color do they have. Next I ask students to hold up their blocks if they have one color that is 1/8, 2/8, 3/8 etc. For each one we talk about how many pieces are in 1/8 (1), in 3/8 (3) etc.
What if I have my tower of 8 but 3/8 are missing? (I remove 3 blocks from my tower.) What fraction are left? 5/8. What fraction do I need to make the whole tower again? (3/8) We talk about how they knew this.
I repeat this process with several other amounts so students can practice taking fractions apart and putting them back together again. (MP4)
I tell students that today they will work in small groups. They will have a chance to practice taking fractions apart and put them together, to label fractions and to find fractions of a set of pennies.
I tell students that they will rotate through 3 centers today for about 10 minutes each. I divide the groups homogeneously so that I can provide extra support to those students who are still struggling to identify and label fractions.
I explain the 3 groups and centers and then send students to their first center. After about 8 - 10 minutes I ring the bell and rotate the students to a second center.
Center 1: Labeling fractions. Here students will draw a fraction card that shows a picture. They will copy the card onto their paper under the correct heading 1/2, 1/3. 1/4. 3/4, 2/3, 3/3, 2/2 and 4/4.
Center 2: Students work in teams of 3. They have coins and fraction cards. The first player draws a card and takes the total number of coins (if they draw 2/5 they need to take 5 coins) They give the next player the fraction of coins from the card (2 coins), and they keep the remainder of the coins (3). Then play passes to the next player.
Center 3: Students start with a whole. They divide it into the parts according to the card they draw, so if they have a whole circle and draw quarters, they need to divide the circle into quarters and then count the parts and fill in the sentence: A whole divided into ____________ has _____ parts. ( A whole divided into quarters has 4 parts.)