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!