As I have mentioned in previous posts about fractions, starting with hands on and pictorial activities is vital for helping primary intermediate level students understand fractions. Today I would like to share my top 5 tips for decomposing fractions. These are mainly focused on 3rd – 5th grade, but may be helpful for some older and younger students as well.
1.) I love using my pizza game for hands on fractions! If you don’t have a pizza game, you can use plastic fraction circles or make pizza fractions from paper plates. Show your students a fraction of a pizza such as 5/6. After guided them to name the fraction, show them one way to decompose it by giving 2/6 to one student and 3/6 to another student. Point out that 2/6 + 3/6 is a way to decompose 5/6 and ask if they can name any other ways. Act out other representations such as 2/6 + 1/6 + 2/6 by giving those slices to other students. Try this with several different students.
2.) Give students color tiles or unifix cubes. Give specific directions such as make a rectangle with 3 red, 2 blue and 7 yellow. What fraction of your tiles are not yellow? (5/12) Move the red and blue apart a little to show how 5/12 can also be represented as 3/12 + 2/12. Do this with a few other fractions as well.
3.) Give students pictures of fractions and have them cut them up to show ways to decompose the fraction.
4.) Coloring Practice – Give students pictures of fractions with nothing shaded. Give them directions on what color to color different parts. Then guide them to write number sentences to decompose the fractions.
5.) Play Games! Make your own games to practice decomposing fractions or try one of the games I have available on my TpT page.
Understanding place value is an important Math skill for elementary students. One of the objectives is for students to describe the relationship between places in a base ten system. Although this may seem difficult at first, starting with concrete manipulatives can really help students gain a deeper understanding.
I like to start by letting students “play” with the blocks for a few minutes. Then I will ask specific questions and have them use the blocks to work out answers. One such example is “How many ones do you need to equal a ten?” or “How many tens can you use to make one hundred?” Give students time to work together or independently with the blocks to answer the question, then discuss. I also like to write the questions/answers on the board or have a record sheet for them to work along with. Continue reading
Have you ever had a student who seemed to understand place value initially, but then when questions were asked just a little differently couldn’t really answer correctly? Younger students need a lot of hands on practice and a lot of discussions before moving on to pictorial and abstract. What about middle and upper elementary? As the learning targets get higher and the numbers get bigger, most students need to revisit basic place value concepts with hands on experiences and discussions to build or review understanding before moving on to bigger numbers. Continue reading
It is important for kids to be fluent with their Math facts, but sometimes the same old pencil paper routines can get boring! And, let’s face it, some kids just need to move around while they are learning! Here are a few ideas to get your kids moving while practicing Math Facts:
After many years of teaching I have put together a “tool box” of tips and tricks to help students really understand and solve word problems, even the all complicated multi-step problems. Today I would like to share some of those tips! Whether you are a teacher, home school parent, or a parent helping your child with homework, these tips should help! Continue reading