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Equivalent fractions
Old 12-13-2015, 01:03 PM
 
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Does anyone have a great way to teach equivalent fractions?

I've done a lot of both conceptual and mathematical things with my 4th graders and they aren't really getting it. They get it when we're working together in class, but struggle to apply it to any situation. So far, we've tried hands-on activities with fraction bars, drawing pictures, doing activities with colored tiles, etc. I even brought candy for them to work with! i've also tried them to multiply/divide the numerator and the denominator. They are really missing the application.

Any suggestions?


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Number line?
Old 12-13-2015, 04:55 PM
 
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One powerful strategy we have used is a fraction number line. I take a long string and tape down the numbers 0, 1, and 2 on notecards- evenly spaced. (Make sure you leave plenty of room for fractions in between).

For many days, at the beginning of a math lesson, I have the students sit in a circle on the floor with the number line in the middle.
The first fraction we discuss is where we would place 1/2. It usually lasts at least 10 minutes until they all agree. The tricky part for fourth graders is the fact that 2 is on the number line.
The next day we place 1/4, 2/4, and 3/4. The discussion takes a long time and we dicsuss the word equivalent regarding 2/4 and 1/2. Why are they in the same spot? (2/4 is taped directly below the 1/2)
I then tape the line on the wall.
For the next few days we talk about eighths. There are lots of equivalent fractions that start popping up.
Then, I get into thirds and sixths, etc.

I also have the students make fraction strips themselves, starting with 1 whole, 1/2, fourths, eighth, and sixteenths. We play Marilyn Burns' games Cover Up and Uncover.
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Old 12-13-2015, 05:35 PM
 
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I love this idea!
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By accident...
Old 12-28-2015, 10:51 AM
 
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I also teach 4th and this is a hard concept for them. After a lesson on fractions we were lining up in the hall for a special. I started saying what fraction on the class was in line. One girl that "got it" started reducing the fractions. Other wanted to "play" and started in. Its a start and "real world".
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Old 12-28-2015, 06:36 PM
 
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I'm 5th so this is usually taught in 4th but I get a quick review day before I teach them how to add fractions with unlike denominators using equivalent fractions. I hate that they are mostly taught cross multiplying in 4th bc that doesn't teach them why.

I usually go over drawing fractions, number lines and fraction strips.


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Old 12-28-2015, 06:40 PM
 
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Quote:
I hate that they are mostly taught cross multiplying in 4th bc that doesn't teach them why.
Yes! I don't teach them the cross multiplying method till the very end, or usually just to the kids who have struggled with it for so long and really can't get it any other way. It takes away from the conceptual understanding.
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