Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Fractions and Play

I found myself planning another pizza fraction problem when it dawned on me that kids don't just eat pizza. Fractions play a part in many different aspects of our lives. So instead of coming up with another pizza or biscuit sharing activity, I decided to bring in water with cups and bottles, different fake foods, paper, lego, and blocks and let the kids explore.

I asked my students to show me their understanding of 'a whole'.

I wanted them to show me different examples of 'a whole'. e.g A whole piece of paper, a whole bunch of bananas, a whole cup of water.

I also asked them to show me how different parts can make a whole. 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 whole, 5 bananas make the whole bunch, 5 cups of water fill the whole water bottle etc.

I basically wanted them to show me their understanding of the central idea.

Fractions are a ways of representing whole-part relationships.

Students playing with making different fraction amounts.

Cutting up a whole piece of paper into different parts.

Creating a whole soccer team, two whole teams, half of the field, talking about half time.

Students playing with creating a whole box of bagels, making a whole ham burger, a whole much of bananas.

What fraction of the food is meat?

Creating different fraction amount with cups of water. 

This student was showing me that 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 whole. She then asked what if we use 'x' (multiplication)? This really intrigued her and she went to ask another student.  He shrugged! I wrote this on the board to reflect on in our next lesson. A hard concept to understand (I must admit I had to google it!), but it reinforces what can happen when you let kids inquire and explore in maths.

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