Adding Fractions with Equations

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The student will be able to add fractions using equations.

Big Idea

Get to the lily pad, stat!


15 minutes

In this lesson students will be using their knowledge of modeling the addition of fraction to move into using equations to add fractions.  Students begin with a number talk and then move into a task requiring them to use manipulatives to determine the missing addend of benchmark fractions to get to the sum of one.  The lesson closes with an online interactive game that practices adding fractions. 

The number talk for this lesson is 3/4 + 1/2.  I display the problem on the board and have the students think silently for a minute or two and then have them discuss strategies with their neighbor.  After about a few minutes I open the floor up to a whole group discussion on what they notice about the display and strategies for solving(MP 2). 

I then change the discussion over a review of the ‘I Can’ statements we have covered so far in this unit.  I highlight the last one because it is what we focused on in the previous lesson and the students will be practicing it again in today’s lesson. 

I can explain the relationship between a part and whole.

I can create a model of a fraction.

I can create and identify equivalent fractions.

I can add fractions with unlike denominators.


30 minutes

The students will be completing a lily pad game board type worksheet to practice adding fractions.  This is an activity called Leapfrog Fractions I found on the Inside Mathematics website in which students need to help each frog get to the lily pad by finding the missing addend to get a sum of one. 

I have students use the fraction piece model sets to aid them in helping each frog get to the lily pad(MP 4).  I also explain to students that after creating a model using the fraction pieces to solve the lily pad problem their challenge is to write an equation or number model for what their model is  showing.  Additionally, I challenge them to come up with another model for each frog once they are finished(MP 4 and 5).  This allows the faster students an extension to their work and the slower students an opportunity to take their time creating the model and writing the equation. 


15 minutes

To wrap up today’s lesson I found a great interactive that is an off shoot of Fruit Ninja called Fruit Shoot Fractions Addition.  There are multiple levels for the students as well.  The first level is adding two fractions with like denominators.  The second level has three addends with the same denominator.  And for a challenge the third level has unlike denominators.  Students can also choose between a timed mode or a relaxed mode.  It’s actually a pretty fun game with the added bonus of practice math skills.