Why Fractions

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Students will be able to recognize fractions in their everyday life and attach value to understanding them.

Big Idea

I guess she’s not crazy after all!


15 minutes

This unit covers adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers.  Students will explore many real world applications of fractions as they build upon previous knowledge of fractions.  Activities are very student centered and discussion based. 

I begin this unit by engaging students in the concept of fractions.  I want them to see the usefulness of the information they are going to be learning.  I show them a quick video I created that highlights fractions in the world around us. 


30 minutes

Once the video is complete I have students work in small groups to focus their thinking.  Here are a series of questions that can be displayed and discussed for the small groups.

  • What examples of fractions did you notice?
  • How were the pictures examples of fractions?
  • Why are fractions important?
  • What is an object from the video that would not make sense if you didn’t look at as a fraction of the whole?

I then bring students back to a whole group share out of ideas they discussed in their small groups.  I facilitate the discussion but have students build upon each other’s thinking. 


15 minutes

To wrap up today’s thinking activity I have students brainstorm in their groups three ideas of why you would need to use a fraction of something in their everyday life.  Students are given time to discuss in their groups and then they are asked to individually write the three scenarios.  

This type of thinking aligns with the mathematical practice standard 4: model with mathematics.  Although students are not creating a physical model to show their thinking, they are attaching meaning to the concept of using fractions by rationalizing the use of a fractional model.