Reflection: Lesson Planning Fractions of Time and Money - Section 2: Fractions of Time


I created this lesson with 2 things in mind. One reason for the lesson was to help students understand expressions that they hear all the time, but have no understanding of, and the other reason for the lesson was to help students conceptualize what quarters and halves are in fractions. 

Students have had some prior knowledge of fractions from first grade. They know how to divide their paper in half and fold it again to get quarters. I want to take that knowledge one step further to an understanding of what a quarter or a half really is. 

When I posted the picture of a dollar and 4 quarters, students could say that there were 4 quarters in a dollar. When we talked about quarters as fractions of a dollar that was more confusing. They know 4 quarters in a dollar but if I asked how many quarters in half a dollar, some of the children were confused and needed help visually seeing what we were talking about.

 We reviewed the words quarter, quarters, quadrilateral, and quad (as in chair lift because many of them ski). We looked at the root of the words and agreed that the quad/quat root must mean 4.  

When we took the clock and divided it in half, students could see the 2 halves of the clock, and when I asked how many minutes in an hour, some students recalled that it was 60 minutes and half of 60 would be 30. So then I asked what might half past the hour mean? It would appear that this would be an easy question, but still some students were confused. It took practice for students to be able to find quarter past, half past and quarter of the next hour. They needed to shade the clock, look at the pieces and really visualize what I was asking them to find. 

Planning a lesson that brings back prior learning (time and quadrilaterals) to new learning (quarters and halves) builds a scaffold for students to use to go from a previous understanding to a new understanding. (Scaffolding is part of Vygotsky's theory of how students learn, and it is how I build many of my lessons.) We can't teach new information to students if we don't give them a way to connect it to their prior learning. It is like trying to hang up a hat with no hatrack peg. Without the peg the hat falls to the floor, without a connection in our brain, the information has no where to stick and it just drops away.

  Common Terms
  Lesson Planning: Common Terms
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Fractions of Time and Money

Unit 9: Fractions
Lesson 2 of 10

Objective: SWBAT identify quarters and halves of an hour and a dollar

Big Idea: People talk about quarters of the hour, or quarters in a dollar. This lesson lets students in on what that means.

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