The CCSS asks that students understand the concepts of fourths and halves with circles, rectangles and squares. This lesson has students fold shapes to make sure that each share is equal. This hands on, concrete practice is great for first grade students as they develop their understanding of fractions and equality. This also gives students an opportunity to use appropriate tools strategically (MP5)-students have to manipulate the concrete shape to divide it equally.
When we talked about the word “equal”, we talked about how equal means the same, or fair. Sometimes when we use the word fair, it’s when we had to share something. Yesterday two people shared some foods on a picnic. Today we are going to go on another picnic, but this time 4 people are going to share all the foods, we call these 4 equal parts “fourths”.
Think of a time you shared something with someone and it wasn't "fair". We want to make sure we understand how to divide things equally so everyone gets the same amount and it is fair.
Today your thinking job is: How can I split a shape into 4 equal amounts, or fourths, so that 4 people can share the picnic food?
Today we are going to be sharing some things with a partner when we pretend to go on a picnic! Yesterday 2 people shared food equally, we call those halves.
But now we are going to talk about another fraction. It is called a fourth. We create fourths when 4 people want to share something equally. Fourth is easy to remember, because it has the word 4 in it!
Present Circle: Today I am bringing Cookies on my picnic, and I want 3 other friends to share it with me so each of has a fair share.
Check for Understanding: Watch how I fold this paper to make fourths, or make 4 equal parts of the cookie. If you think it is fair, I want you to show a thumbs up; If you think it isn’t equal, show a thumbs down.
After I finally do the 4 equal shares, I’ll says: Now we made fourths-four equal parts. I am going to give my friend one of the parts, or one fourth. How much did I give my friend? One fourth.
We create fourths when 4 people want to share something equally. One fourth is just one of those equal pieces.
Represent on chart paper: Now that I showed my brownie, I am going to shade, or color in, the part that I am eating. What do I need to color? What math word do we use to describe this? (one fourth)
Here is one of the placemats from earlier this week.
Present Problem: Four people want to share this placemat for the picnic. How can I make sure everyone has the same amount of space on this placemat?
Kids each get a “placemat” (piece of construction paper) to work with and start trying to figure out how to make it into fourths. If students finish early, they can write/tell a partner how they are sure it is equal.
Partner talk: How did you fold your placemat? How do you know it is fourths?
I’ll show a few placemats that I folded- One that has 4 equal parts, one that has 4 unequal parts, one that has 3 parts, one that has 2 parts.
Restate: We create fourths when 4 people want to share something equally. One fourth is just one of those equal pieces.
Directions: Students cut and fold each shape (pretending the shapes are all parts of their picnic lunches), divide the shape into fourths, and record how they did this on their recording sheet.
Possible Extension: Students show multiple ways to divide each shape into fourths. They would need 2 recording sheets to show their thinking.
The recording sheet and each part of the picnic is attached.
Bring students back together and do a gallery walk of other students shapes. A gallery walk is a way for students to get to see a lot of different visuals. In this case, I had each student lay their shapes on the rug to show how they divided into fourths.
To make gallery walks most effective, it is best to give students a thinking job as they walk. Mine was: Compare the shapes you see from other people. Think-are they the same as mine or different?
Watch Our Gallery Walk to see all of this in action!
After a gallery walk, I always give students a few minutes to debrief what they saw as they walked.
Listen in to my class' debrief here: Debriefing the Gallery Walk. I was so excited to see all of the things they noticed about how other people showed fourths!