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This activity will aid in the understanding of breaking a single object into equal shares using candy and other exciting models. Students will learn about fractions and how they can make all different kinds fractions with even more fractions.
Invitation to Learn
This exploration is best done following a class discussion lead by the teacher of what a fraction is and what it really represents. Often time students are intimidated with the concept of fractions. Have them relax and just think of the fraction as another way to write or express a division equation. Mathematicians are known to be very efficient folks and seem to always find the most efficient way to write, express, and communicate things quickly. They are always anxious to move on and get the job done. Show the students the ÷ symbol. Do you see the fraction model in this symbol? The line means to share equally. The denominator is the number of shares. Students relate to sharing with friends, so you might refer to the denominator as, how many friends you will be sharing with? The numerator is the portion of the shares to be considered. You can actually cover that number of shares with your hand to give the students an action cue to depend on. The following exploration and experience with the manipulatives is to as much uncover what the students know as much as to allow them to discover!
Invitation to Learn
Provide each group of four to five students with a single licorice rope. Ask them to share this one licorice rope with the group equally. Dont allow them to eat the shares until you have a chance to talk as a class. This activity will only take a few minutes. Children share everyday, all day long, so they will jump right in and get busy sharing. Travel among the groups and listen for snippets or phrases being said during the sharing. Pull the class together and share things you heard and go right into a discussion of sharing equally. Depending on the responses and your assessment of understanding you might need to share more objects on the overhead with the class. Then share the traditional fraction model. Discussing and clarifying as needed. Let them eat!
Home Fraction Hunt:
Zull, J.E. (2004). The art of changing the brain. Educational leadership. September 2004
This article explores the fact that learning should feel good. When a student is experiencing, exploring, developing connections, and learning then positive emotions are generated. This biochemical reward of learning is not provided by explanations from the teacher, but by the student developing their own idea and ownership of those ideas. It goes on to discuss that the way we feel always influences our brain and strengthens growth and wiring. The article shares some best practices for teachers to optimize learning in the classroom.
De Geest, E., & Watson, A., (2004). Instilling Thinking. Mathematics Teaching. June 2004.
This article shares research done to identify and develop ways of stimulate mathematical thinking. It explores the common practice of giving students in the lowest achieving group repetitive, simplified mathematics. When studies show that more good is done helping learners develop thinking skills and understanding throughout every level of mathematics lessons. This with a teachers high expectations help a students self-awareness that they are learning and progressing. Students showed significant gains in self-esteem and their ability and willingness to engage with extended, unfamiliar, and complex tasks.