Friday, June 29, 2012

Fun with Fractions

As most of you know I teach Reading, Language Arts, and Social Studies but I really do love Math and continue to go to different workshops so I can keep up my skills. This past week I went to a two-day workshop called Fun with Fractions.  Now, one of my most non-teacher qualities is that I really DO NOT like time wasting activities at workshops.  Like the ice breakers that take 20 minutes or an activity that you really only need to spend 10 minutes on but you spend 30.  I know you want to show me how the students feel but I would really like to learn more to take back to the classroom.  (Alright, enough Negative Nancy - sorry!)  All that being said, this workshop was amazing!  No icebreaker (because we all introduced ourselves to the people at our table who we'd be working with) and all the activities we worked on were a lot of fun and we spent just enough time to keep me excited and still be able to fit in more!   They also taught me a lot and boosted my "fraction confidence."  Did I mention all the wonderful freebies we got and I WON SOMETHING!  That never happens, so that made this workshop doubley wonderful. :o)
The workshop focused on Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics Grades 3-5 by John A. Van de Walle and LouAnn H. Lovin.  It was very helpful, especially with student's misconceptions and how to teach the major areas in math in multiple ways.  The book also contains different activities for certain topics.  I'm really excited to delve more into it!  Another plus to the book is that you can get all the blackline master copies on their website.

One of the things I liked best about this workshop was that they showed us some great activities to do with the kids from beginning fractions all the way to enrichment.  They also had different ideas for different learners.  Here are some of the creative things that we worked on.  They are more geared towards third and fourth grade, though you could tweak them for fifth.

Share the Brownie - place brown squares and four story problems in a ziplock bag.  Each story problem causes the students to divide the brownies equally amongst the people in their group but also requires them to cut some of those squares and create new fractions.  I really enjoyed this one!
Sandwich Bag Decimal Chart - How stinking cute is this?!  It is a Bag Lady creation and all you have to do is open up a brown paper lunch bag and cut down one side and cut the bottom off.  Lay it out flat and fold the bottom up to make the pocket (you can glue down if you need to.)  Fold the bag into how many sections you need, use a marker to line them off and label, and finally glue down Decimal Dan! (Hint = he is always looking up to the whole numbers)  Now every student has their own decimal chart to help them whenever needed.  You could also have them write down numbers on notecards and keep them in a bag at their desk with Decimal Dan to do quick warm ups.

Hundreths Circles - Print out two of these circles on different colored paper and laminate. Cut along the dotted line directly to the center. Once both are cut, connect the two circles at the line you cut and tada! You are now ready to teach decimals to their equivalent fraction. Click here for a teacher template. I am going to scale them down for the students.
Human Number Line - It's just what it sounds like!  Give each student a notecard with a fraction on it and have them go up to the front and put themselves in order of least to greatest.  Let the other students check them for accuracy.  To really throw the kids, have certain students swap places and see if anyone notices.  You can also do fractions and decimals together!

Fraction War - Just like the game we played as kids but with fractions!  If you visit my TPT store, I have different versions of this game.

Round Robin with Multiples - Have students keep going around at their table and listing the first 10 multiples of any number.  Great warm up and review!
Four Corners - Have basic or benchmark fractions in the four corners (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 - or whatever you want).  The students all scatter to the corners and the caller is in the middle (will probably have to be you until they become more familiar with fractions).  The caller will call out some fraction that can be simplified to one of the four corners.  Example "8/16!"  Everyone in the 1/2 corner will be out.  Continue until only player remains - they are the new caller.  This makes the students playing the game have to reduce fractions to figure out if they are in or not and the caller has to think of fractions that can be reduced correctly.  Really liked this one too!

I really enjoyed this and can't wait to make some of these things for my math centers that I am creating for my early finishers.  Now, I know you kept reading this long post just to see what I won ;o), so here it is:  Fraction Cubes!!!  Have I also mentioned that I love workshops where they give you free stuff?  Really, who doesn't?  They also gave us three sets of Decimal Equivalency Discs.  You place fraction circles in the middle and it tells you the equivalent fraction!

I hope you can use some of these ideas in your math class.  If you have any other ideas for fractions or decimals, leave your idea or link in the comment section!


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