18 Methods To Make Instructing Fractions Simpler


Yearly, I hear the identical refrain within the hallways: “My youngsters simply aren’t getting it! Instructing fractions is so arduous!” Whereas fractions are historically taught in elementary and center faculty, I’ve even heard from some highschool academics who say their college students wrestle to grasp them.

In reality, main mathematicians like Dr. Tom Dick, one of many authors for the Texas Devices Constructing Ideas program, have mentioned {that a} stable understanding of fractions is without doubt one of the foundations on which highschool math success is constructed.

Instructing fractions is a vital a part of math curriculum. However why are fractions so arduous for youths to grasp? The three issues that journey youngsters up essentially the most are:

  1. We are sometimes asking youngsters to carry out a collection of steps with out understanding the explanations behind the steps. Generally, once they’re youthful, college students usually are not even developmentally prepared to grasp the ideas.
  2. Youngsters usually develop misconceptions about all difficult subjects in arithmetic, together with fractions. After we will help youngsters confront these misconceptions, studying usually happens extra simply.
  3. Youngsters wrestle with fractions for a similar purpose that youngsters wrestle with a whole lot of new ideas: They only want apply.

1. Use visible representations

Magnetic fraction set box and colorful magnets on display for fraction activities.

The idea of a “fraction” is summary, and visualizing half vs. complete is a developmental ability not absolutely in place for some youngsters till center or highschool. Manipulatives will help the ideas change into extra concrete. Construct fractions utilizing totally different visuals, both circles or tiles, to strengthen what fractions appear to be.

Constructing fractions collectively offers youngsters a visible idea on which they will construct the remainder of their data. We use the kits all through our total fraction unit. I’ll preserve my fraction equipment taped to the board all through my unit and discuss with it when we have to work out an issue collectively.

Purchase it: Fraction tiles and circles equipment at Amazon

2. Use grid-based visuals

Fractions on a grid based system
Texas Devices

Anytime I can present a picture to go together with the idea I’m instructing, I do know I’m going to be in higher form. A method I do that when instructing fractions is to ask college students to create the visible on paper. This exercise from Texas Devices teaches college students how they will characterize fractions in a extra visible method.

With a grid-based system, the trainer makes use of a projector or interactive whiteboard to introduce a lesson that presents fractions (in addition to fraction-based computations for extra superior college students) as shapes. After the children have seen the visible illustration on the display, they will make their very own fraction photos on the free printables that go together with the actions.

3. Play board video games

Missing Numerator board game set up on table.
Deceptively Academic/Fraction recreation by way of Deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.com

Video games serve multiple objective. First, they make what could possibly be a dry and boring subject to your college students extra enjoyable and attention-grabbing. Additionally they usually present that visible element that’s particularly useful for some college students. Listed below are a few my favorites:

Lacking Numerator Sport

For this recreation, the scholar wants to find out the lacking numerator to find out what number of areas to maneuver ahead. Generally youngsters simply want apply to construct fluency with a selected ability. Video games like this may make the required apply rather less painful.

Get tutorial: Lacking Numerator Sport

Domino Fraction Video games

There are two enjoyable video games on the Higher Elementary Snapshots web site. Each of them contain drawing dominoes however utilizing the 2 opposing sides of the dominoes as fractions. The chances listed below are limitless: Evaluate fractions, add fractions, match fractions. Choose your favourite and dive in together with your youngsters.

Get tutorial: Domino Fraction Sport

4. Flip to tech

Screenshot of Squeezable the fractions online game showing illustration of picnic blanket with a pie in the middle and plates around the sides.
Squeebles Fractions by way of Apple App Retailer

One other technique I like to make use of to assist youngsters construct fluency with their fractions abilities is to allow them to apply digitally. Apps and different on-line sources will help solidify ideas. Two apps that my college students notably take pleasure in are Squeebles Fractions and Fractions. Sensible Pirates.

Each apps current fractions visually and embrace enjoyable video games that ask college students to be extra versatile of their fascinated with fractions, usually serving to appropriate misconceptions youngsters might have in place. For instance, one exercise from Squeebles Fractions helps college students perceive that serving ⅓ of a cake should still require two items, not only one.

Take a look at this big listing of instructing and studying apps.

5. Give step-by-step strategic instruction

While you’re introducing a brand new idea, free exploration with manipulatives and video games will help college students change into able to study. However I’ve discovered that when it comes time to show a very difficult idea, it’s all the time useful for me to map out my objectives and aims.

Step-by-step, strategic instruction can tackle all three of the bigger points listed above that college students face once they’re struggling to study fractions: restricted understanding, misconceptions, and lack of apply. For those who really feel like your math curriculum isn’t providing sufficient steerage, I really like the free sources obtainable via the TI Constructing Ideas program, which give the type of construction that helps information college students via what generally is a difficult idea.

6. Mannequin fractions with meals

pizza with a hand taking a slice for fraction activities
Polina Tankilovitch by way of Pexels

Probably the greatest methods I discovered to introduce and reinforce fractions with my college students was to make use of meals. Issues corresponding to pie, pizza, and Halloween sweet relate notably effectively for real-world context and visualization. Even in seventh grade, coping with multiplying and dividing fractions, I might all the time come again to my pizza instance. The immediate that may all the time join the very best with ravenous center schoolers was once I drew a pizza on the board and began dividing it into smaller and smaller fractions. I might ask whereas pointing to the ½ slice and the ⅛ slice, “Would you like this slice, or this slice?” After they might clearly see that the ⅛ slice was a lot smaller than the ½, the summary idea of “half of a complete” turned way more concrete (and attractive).

7. Rise up and shifting

Movement math game called Musical math set up on the floor with colored markers with actions on them.
Amy Lemons/Fractions recreation by way of amylemons.com

Academics can introduce fractions in every kind of artistic methods, but when college students are antsy and wiggly, they gained’t retain a lot of what’s been taught. Getting wiggles out, notably for youthful college students, is necessary. This up-and-moving fractions recreation, just like a standard recreation of Musical Chairs, accomplishes two important issues (amongst others): getting youngsters up and shifting, and having them affiliate a fraction that they see with one which additionally they have to jot down. Visuals are extremely useful when instructing fractions, and visuals that college students can actually transfer to and work together with are even higher.

Get tutorial: Up-and-moving fractions recreation

8. Remodel fractions via gamification

kahoot logo with fractions activity 2/4 of a pizza for fractions activities
Laswereda by way of Kahoot!

On-line video games, like Kahoot!, Blooket, and Quizlet, are an attractive technique for introducing a brand new subject, reinforcing ideas all through our unit, or getting ready for a check. These gamified studying sources saved me time and time once more throughout distance studying as one of many very restricted methods I used to be in a position to interact college students via a display. Merely seek for no matter fraction idea you’re at the moment working with, and I assure you there will probably be a plethora of selections to make use of together with your college students. (Quizizz and Gimkit are additionally nice gamified sources.)

9. Colour by fraction

a picture of a dragon for students to color in
Kaylee’s Schooling Studio/coloring sheet by way of kayedstudio.com

All college students love to paint each from time to time—sure, even center schoolers. Utilizing the tried-and-true “color-by-number” technique is definitely implausible for college kids to apply their fraction abilities as a result of it makes use of one more method of interacting with fractions in a concrete method.

Take a look at the color-by-fractions pages at Kaylee’s Schooling Studio. They’re an excellent possibility for math facilities/rotations, early morning work or for early finishers, and as a Friday enjoyable exercise. You may even discover ones which have a digital element!

10. Play music

After I was rising up, each faculty had the choice to affix band, orchestra, and choir. I performed the clarinet from 4th grade via highschool. I shortly discovered that math and music are deeply intertwined, and I nonetheless consider that studying to learn music helped me study extra complicated mathematical ideas. Although sadly, a majority of these lessons have gotten much less and fewer widespread, you possibly can sneak in a primary studying music lesson to assist educate your college students about fractions. For instance, a complete be aware is held for 4 counts, whereas a half be aware is held for—you guessed it—two counts. There are quarter notes, eighth notes, and even sixteenth notes.

11. Pool noodle fractions

I really like instructing fractions with manipulatives that get youngsters up and shifting round. Pool noodle fraction instruments are simply that. They’re nice for college kids to work with to characterize and work with fractions, and so they’re large enough for college kids to make use of in teams and for tactile learners who need to transfer round—have college students work on the ground to check fractions by constructing with pool noodles.

Purchase it: Pool noodles at Amazon

12. Fraction trays

green tray with little animals and dominos on it for teaching fractions
Extra Time 2 Educate/fraction trays at Moretime2teach.com

Manipulatives to characterize quantities are so necessary when instructing fractions. I really like how this trainer makes use of trays to assist college students preserve their manipulatives organized. Mix trays with sticky notes with totally different fractions to characterize so college students can apply modeling fractions.

Get tutorial: Fractions trays

13. Construct fractions with bricks

four lego towers showing equivalent fractions for teaching fractions
Frugal Enjoyable 4 Boys and Women/Fraction legos by way of Frugalfun4boys.com

I imply, who doesn’t like to work with LEGO? Convey LEGO or different constructing bricks right into a fractions lesson and also you’ll see how superior they’re for creating and dealing with fractions. I present college students with blocks and totally different equal fractions to construct to allow them to visualize how totally different fractions look even when all of them make the identical quantity.

Get tutorial: LEGO fraction actions

14. Work with dominoes

hand writing fraction problems on a magnetic board with dominos for teaching fractions
Terrific Instructing Techniques/domino fractions by way of terrificteachingtactics.com

Every domino is principally its personal fraction. Have college students work with dominoes and whiteboards to create fraction addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division issues. Or have college students translate improper domino fractions into correct fractions.

Get tutorial: Domino fractions

15. Reinforce that fractions usually are not all the identical

three plastic lids divided into halves for teaching fractions
Extra Time 2 Educate/Fraction lids by way of moretime2teach.com

An necessary factor for college kids to learn about fractions is that two fractions usually are not the identical quantity. Like, two halves may not be the identical, it is determined by the dimensions of the entire. Reinforce this by utilizing plastic lids and caps to mannequin totally different fractions and present college students how fractions relate to amount.

Get tutorial: Fraction lids and caps exercise

16. Create a fraction mannequin utilizing straws and string

a straw cut into pieces and labeled with fractions for teaching fractions
Extra Time 2 Educate/fraction straws by way of moretime2teach.com

I really like a manipulative that college students can use at their desks. This fraction straw mannequin suits the invoice. College students construct a fraction manipulative utilizing bits of straw reduce into fraction lengths (your entire straw is one complete) and string. Or use a pipe cleaner for a firmer manipulative. College students can manipulate their straw fraction mannequin as they work via issues.

Get tutorial: Fraction straw mannequin

17. Use measuring cups and spoons

set of measuring cups and spoons for teaching fractions

Measuring spoons and cups are an effective way to indicate college students how quantities divide into one another. Have them mix two halves to make a complete, or separate one-half into two-fourths. For youthful college students, arrange a sensory bin with spoons or cups and rice or beans. When instructing fractions to older college students, use cups and spoons as manipulatives in math issues.  

Purchase it: Measuring Cups and Spoons Set at Amazon

18. Use a visible mannequin that college students can do many times

fraction math problems on a whiteboard for teaching fractions
Empower Be taught Develop/fraction apply by way of terrysteachingtidbits.com

An environment friendly method for college kids to work via a number of apply issues is to slide a visible mannequin right into a plastic sheath. College students can use a whiteboard marker to work via every downside, with a number of alternative to erase and begin once more till they grasp the ability.

Get tutorial: Visible methods for dividing fractions

Purchase it: Dry-Erase Pockets at Amazon

On the lookout for much more enjoyable and fascinating concepts for instructing fractions? Take a look at Enjoyable Fraction Video games and Actions for Youngsters.

Plus, seize this free Pizza Fractions poster set.

Teaching fractions is inevitably tough. These lesson ideas and tricks will make it easier for young kids through high school.