For kids, and even some adults, fractions are a very abstract skill to master. It takes a lot of visualization to understand how parts of a whole work. When you start adding and multiplying fractions to whole numbers or using improper fractions, it can make a child’s brain spin! Students might not be able to fully grasp fractions, but with practice and time, they will get better. Allow them grace as you introduce new concepts such as fractions. Continue reading to see how you can scaffold your students learning as you teach fractions through fraction games, activities and more.
1. Use Hands-On Activities
Every chance you get, provide students with materials they can manipulate to work through the math problems and solve the fractions easier. Use dominoes, equally sized blocks, cubes, strips of paper, dice, and anything else you can think of. Manipulatives allow students to practice fraction games while still learning and having fun!
Trying to find a cheap and fun way to model fractions for students as a whole group lesson? Check out this Pool Noodle Fraction Idea! They’ll love the fun fraction games that can be played with this cheap tool.
2. Incorporating Visuals Can Make Life Easier
Imagine trying to teach your students about fractions without using anything but your words. They would be so lost. While teaching fractions, be sure to use as many visuals as possible. Show them grids and charts using graph paper or other printables.
Draw the fractions on the board or the screen for students to absorb as you teach. Provide them with their own paper so they can copy your work. I know that I learn better when I can work through something on my own instead of just staring at it.
3. Technology Can Be Your Best Friend
Any time you can integrate technology in the classroom, I highly recommend it. Students these days are extremely bright when it comes to handling computers and tablets. You may as well use fun apps and websites that help them practice their math skills.
Use fraction games like Seashell Fractions and other games on this website to let kids try their hand at fractions. Splashlearn.com is a great site (free to educators) to use as a tool while teaching. Students use the app to move pieces around while solving their fraction problems. Use them on the board so students can watch you practice fraction games before they try them out on their own.
4. Play Plenty of Fraction Games
Break out the games! Use any and all fractions games you have to practice skills in the classroom and at home as homework. Let students practice with partners or in small groups. You can find tons of fraction games online that students will enjoy.
If you want some easy access games, use my Fractions and Decimals Escape Game. Students work as a team or in pairs to solve the puzzles. The escape game provides opportunities to practice many math skills, one of which is fractions. Students will enjoy working collaboratively to master their problem-solving skills within fractions.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
Fractions may click right away for some students but may need time for others. The key to successful fractions lessons and understanding is laying out all of your goals for each unit. Provide yourself and your students with step-by-step goals to understanding. Even when students seem to understand the skills well enough to teach their friends, review it more so that they can retain the information.
You can’t possibly practice math skills enough. Think about all of the math skills you’ve forgotten since grade school. You stopped using those skills, so you’ve slowly forgotten some. Using spiral math allows students plenty of opportunities to review fractions throughout the year so that they remember as much as possible.
Kids struggle with fractions for the same reasons they struggle with many skills: they just need more practice! With a combination of the above-mentioned tips and fraction games, you will see your students begin to understand and conceptualize fractions. Apply these tips to all areas of teaching!