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Within a fraction, there are different parts, the numerator, the denominator. Although these are not learned until further on in a child’s education, it is always beneficial to understand a subject fully before trying to teach it.
The numerator is the number above the bar, the denominator is the number below the bar – the bar is known as the vinculum.
Fractions and the National Curriculum
It has been noted that a significant fraction of children struggle to grasp the concept of fractions, therefore what better way to aid their understanding by having fun? These activities can also be used for your formative assessments in class.
Below are a few tips on teaching fractions that we think your pupils may appreciate.
Start Really Simple.
It’s best to start really, really simple. Misunderstandings at the start can lead to a whole lot of issues.
So, look just at halves and quarters for the first few weeks.
Use a Number Line.
There is quite a lot of compelling research that number lines are a more powerful tool for introducing fractions than pie charts. Children are used to seeing them for whole numbers and fractions just fill in the gap.
Ease into Fractions of a Whole.
If you want to talk about a half, you do not need a pie chart. Simply take ten counters and divide them into two groups. What happens when they are divided into 5 groups?
Once students understand this simple process of halving, you can introduce pie charts, or other illustrations to help you teach.
Use Real Things
Use real things to explain fractions. Moving from the abstract to the physical is a challenge for some children. Using real objects can make fractions click into place.
It is also a chance to be creative –colours, food – all make for great fraction display walls.
Turn to Tech
Another strategy to build fluency is to let them practise daily. A way of getting them engaged and focused on the work is through digital activities! Fractions with Emile is superb at getting students to practise a little every day.
What does half past an hour mean? It is a language that your pupils know but do they understand it? Ask them to illustrate pictures of clocks!
Bring out the paper plates and colouring pencils, have students draw a piece of pie. In groups, ask them how many parts their pie has, how would they half this? Quarter it? Do they know how to illustrate that?
All you need is a deck of cards for each pair of students.
Similarly, in the card game “Wars”, the goal is to collect all the cards. However, for this, we will be using fractions. Use a pencil or a ruler to create the vinculum of each student’s fraction, then they must both pull a card out for the numerator and denominator.
Students must then figure out who has the highest fraction, the winner collects the losers cards.
If you are not familiar with the game “Wars” make sure you watch the video below to get a better understanding of this fun engaging game.
This activity is bound to create some beautiful classroom display as well as motivating students to have fun whilst learning. Pretending you are working in a restaurant as a chef, ask your students to draw a big circle with eight equal slices. Whilst they draw their pizza base, you could write up a few orders on the board giving them options on what to create.
The orders could look as follows:
Fraction colouring is one of the easiest and most known ways of practising fractions. Download our free worksheets and get your students to practise fractions! Students simply must colour in the shapes accordingly.