We begin by watching BrainPop Jr. "Equivalent Fractions". This is a subscription web site, but there are many strong examples of videos that explain and demonstrate equivalent fractions. Equivalent Fractions StudyJam on Scholastic is an interactive problem solver, which is more similiar to a BrainPop expererience. Also, Watch, Know, Learn which compiles media resources has a section devoted to Equivalent Fractions.
I like to use BrainPop Jr. videos because they use appropriate vocabulary, explain things with visual models and are short enough to keep children interested.
I have a question for you on the board that I’m going to need your help with. You guys are so great at explaining things that make sense to all of us, so I need your explanations about these pieces to get us started.
I give students a couple of minutes to write what they notice about the pieces. I will then have students share what they wrote so that we can build a shared understanding around their explanations.
One way that I think about equivalent fractions is by drawing the picture, like we just discussed and like Annie and Moby showed us on BrainPop. Another way that I like to think about equivalent fractions is by multiplying the same number to the top as I do to the bottom, and then checking to see if they are equivalent or not (MP7). If the fraction is equal to it’s brother or sister, they both need to be multiplied in the same way!
Here I model with 1/2, 3/4 , 4/6, and 5/8 to show what types of fractions we can make when we multiply the top and the bottom by the same number. We discuss how the numerator and denominator both need to "get the same thing" (multiplied by the same number) in order for them to stay equal.
I’m going to let you guys really show me what you know, using something you love, art! I want each of you to think about and write what it means to make an equivalent fraction. Think about all of the examples we’ve talked about today and the drawings and math work that we’ve done to show these types of fractions.
After you have written down and explained what it means to create equivalent fractions (MP3), I want you to create a visual model to show equivalent fractions (MP4 & MP7). It can be anything you want, as long as you can explain to us how it shows these special types of fractions.
Excellent work! I had no idea I had such talented artists in our classroom who could use their math knowledge to craft their works of art! I want you to spend the next 10 minutes sharing at your table. Each of you will get a couple of minutes to read your explanation to your team, then show and explain your visual model and how it represents equivalent fractions (MP3).
As I was walking around observing and asking questions during their work time, I notice that students have really unique and interesting representations, and that no two are really the same. I feel it is important to allow students to share and explain their work to each other in order to allow them to defend their choice, and to allow my students to learn from one another.