You give a child (who loves brownies) the option of having 1/2 of a brownie or 1/8 of a brownie. They pick 1/8 of a brownie. Can you guess why?
Teaching fractions can be such a challenge but there are ways to help kids understand.
This post has some ideas for how to teach fractions with activities and games.
Hands On Fraction Activities
Last year I started my fractions unit with this brownie hook. I gave them a dessert menu that offered brownies in three different fraction servings- 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8. Then I showed them the menu and asked them to tell me which serving they would like.
I even wrote down their order on these check pads for an added effect. I used Little Debbie Cosmic brownies because they are easy to cut up. Plus each brownie is already divided into halves.
Of course, most ordered 1/8 of a brownie. They ordered the 1/8 brownie because of course 8 was the biggest number in the serving options.
The reaction of those that got 1/8 of a brownie was priceless. They could not believe the tiny piece they ended up with!
They now know that if the numerator is the same, then the smallest denominator is actually the biggest piece. This is an integral piece in their understanding of fractions.
After some fraction lessons teaching parts of a whole you can move on to fractional shares. In this lesson, they will be working with fractions greater than a whole.
I use task cards and give the kids circles and squares to cut up. They work with partners and go through the task cards to figure out what fraction of a food item each person gets.
They cut up the circles and squares to help them figure out the fair shares.
Videos for Visual Learners
Videos are another way to help visual learners understand fractions. I wrote a blog post about fraction videos you can use for your visual learners. There are basic fraction videos and ones that teach comparing and equivalent fractions.
If you use a video that you love when teaching fractions please let me know. I’m always looking to add to my collection.
At the end of our fractions unit, I review with some games. One of our favorites is Fraction Fortune. This involves money so they get some practice with economics too. I play this with the whole class but you can also use this in small groups or in centers.
Players spin and solve fraction problems to get a chance to spin the Fraction Fortune spinner. They earn or lose money depending on what they land on.
The object of the game is to earn the most cash by the end of the game.
Fraction Scavenger Hunt
Another fun game is a scavenger hunt with a twist. The purpose of this scavenger hunt is to solve fraction problems and collect letters. The letters create a mystery phrase.
But be careful because not all the answers posted are correct! This prevents kids from just collecting letters. Kids are engaged throughout the entire game and don’t realize they’re working while having fun!
I’ve been using a digital version with my own students that is just as fun. It uses Google Forms and is a great way to review fractions virtually.
Speaking of teaching virtually, an idea for how to teach fractions would be using interactive anchor charts.
I create slides of the fractions content I want my students to learn. Then I include “Your Turn” slides for them to interact with so they can practice.
I love using these for absent students who miss the initial fractions lesson. They also work for students that have struggled with the skill and need additional practice.
I hope you found some ideas for teaching fractions. Fractions can be difficult to teach but there are so many engaging ways to teach them!
Pin this post so you can refer to it when you’re teaching fractions. Feel free to share it if you have teacher friends who’d find it helpful!
This Post Has 4 Comments
Hi there! I can’t seem to find the actual fractional task cards (with friends sharing brownies/pizzas/cookies/sandwiches) shown on your Instagram & blog post above. Can you give me a direct link to them please? I’m caught in an endless search loop that doesn’t lead to the adorable product. Thanks so much!
Hi Joni! Sorry about that. I fixed the link in the blog post. These are in my Teachers Pay Teachers store as a free download. Here is the link:
You are awesome! I’ll be moving from 2nd to 3rd and already looking for ways to teach my new standards. You were my first stop. Thank you for sharing your great ideas!
You’re welcome! You are going to LOVE 3rd grade! It is such a great age in my opinion.