After introducing fractions yesterday, today everyone is making a part of their own fraction kit.

This is adapted from Marilyn Burn’s (one of my math idols). You just need to have different colors of large construction paper (12 x 18 inches). Cut into widths of 3 inches. You will need a different color for each fraction. I used black for the whole, red for the 1/2s, blue for the fourths, yellow for the eighths, and orange for the sixteenths. Everyone will need one 3 inch wide strip of each color.

I have a message board area that when students come in for recess, they check the board to see what they need to be ready for math time. This time I tell them they need a pencil, scissors, and an envelope. As everyone is gathering their supplies, I have a picture from the slide show I showed yesterday so they can begin talking about it while we are waiting for the stragglers (there are always stragglers).

When everyone is settled, we talk about the fraction picture on the wall, like we did yesterday, to help them transition from break and to be thinking about fractions. I tell them we are making fraction kits today.

So I hand out a black strip to each person. I tell them that this represents one (or whole). I use black as it’s a combination of all the colors. I tell them to write 1 on the strip as well as their initials. I then hand out a red strip. I ask them if I folded it in HALF, how many pieces will I see? So then each one folds their paper, and cuts it neatly along the fold. Then writes their initial on each piece. I continue on the same way with 1/4s (blue).

I usually do just these on one day. So on the next day, we add on the eighths (yellow) and sixteenths (orange). I do ask them before we fold to guess how many pieces we will have. I write down the pattern on the whiteboard – 1 fold 2 pieces, 2 folds four pieces, 3 folds (at this point some will say 6 pieces because they see a pattern of 2, 4, 6), but I stop and pause and have them visualize what happens when we fold and have them try it, so then we discuss doubling.

Then after they make all our pieces (I usually have table partners inspect each others kits, checking for initials, etc.), we put them in an envelope (with their name on it) and put it in their math folders as we will use them for more upcoming activities.

Note: There is always someone who tries to fix pieces by trimming them and then throwing the scraps away. I ask them “Do you still have a whole after you throw away those pieces?” So it’s best to have a couple of spare strips.

Each student then goes to a math station. And since we are in the introductory phase of fractions, all the math stations are on last weeks topics (arrays and probability).

A fun closing or opening activity is to have the students form groups (of at least three), and come up with fractions within their groups, such as 1/4 of us have red on, 1/3 of us have long hair, 2/5 of us have shorts on, etc.

– Thanks for reading! Evil Math Wizard