Student Created Tools at Hillcrest

One of the most powerful lessons for fractions is having students create their own fraction strips.  This is usually greeted by “We did this last year”; however, what I’ve found is that it’s a good review of basic fraction concepts and a good launching off point for comparing fractions and for finding equivalent fractions.  Many students have created the strips but never actually used them as a tool.  You can see from below how they can be used so students can develop their conceptual understanding before the procedural is ever introduced.

Maddison, in grade 5 at Hillcrest, compares 1/4 to 1/2.  It’s clear from the photo that 1/2 is greater, though a common misconception is that 1/4 is greater because 4 is greater than 2 (as seen in the denominators).  We had a great discussion on why the pieces are larger for the halves than the quarters.


Moving from comparing unit fractions, we now use Maddison’s strips to compare 2/3 to 2/4.  Again, this provides a fabulous visual for students.


Here, Maddison shows me all the ways she can create equivalent fractions to 1/2 with her strips.

I’d like to thank Mr. Weaver for a great start to my day in his amazing classroom.  I’m hoping for another visit some time soon!

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