The goal of this lesson is to help students see the sense in fractions through hands-on experience and reasoning.
Lessons for Introducing Fractions by Marilyn Burns (Math Solutions Publication)
If students are expected to memorize and practice procedures, the main goal of making sense of mathematics takes a back seat. When talking with students about fractions, it is important to make sure they understand what the whole is. In this lesson, students will use pattern blocks to visually understand halves, thirds, and sixths through comparing shapes and their areas. They first look at all the different ways they can make a congruent yellow hexagon using other pattern block pieces. After the investigation, they represent their solutions using pictures and fractional notation. They will also play a game to increase an understanding of equivalence.
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude toward mathematics.
2. Become mathematical problem solvers.
3. Reason mathematically.
4. Communicate mathematically.
5. Make mathematical connections.
6. Represent mathematical situations.
Invitation to Learn
Have students use different pattern blocks to build hexagons that are the same size and shape as the yellow hexagon pattern block. Try to find all the different ways.
Have various pattern blocks represent one whole and determine the fractional value of each pattern block piece (e.g., if the red trapezoid represents one whole, what would the fractional value of the green pattern block be? One-third because it is one out of three equal pieces). See attached handout.
Homework & Family Connections
Find examples of fractions used in newspapers, magazines, and other sources. Be prepared to share these findings with the class.
Have students write which of two fractions is larger and how they know. Have them identify equivalent fractions for 1/2, 1/3, etc. and explain how they know.