Teaching equivalent fractions during math is an important topic for our 4th and 5th-grade students. Fractions can be a terrifying concept to some students, especially those who are still working on their math facts. Giving students fun activities to practice finding equivalent fractions helps them learn the content better, and they barely notice they are doing work. Here are a few fun ideas to help your students improve their equivalent fraction knowledge while also having fun.
Equivalent Fractions Activities with materials you already have
Without even realizing it, you probably have manipulatives or objects in the classroom that students can use to practice their equivalent fractions. You can use pattern blocks to let students represent their fractions using triangles, squares, or even rectangles. Have your students build them at their desks and they make a great visual for our 4th and 5th graders. Placing the shapes side-by-side to represent fractions will help them see and internalize these important math facts.
If you have graph paper, supply students with some to draw their own equivalent fraction number lines. Using the number lines, they can represent the equivalent fractions they are working on. For activities that require lots of drawings, place the graph paper in a sheet protector or laminate them so students can use dry-erase markers. I would use graph paper that has larger squares, to make it easier for students to add as many fractions as needed.
Equivalent Fractions Game
Have you ever played Scattegories? We love it in my family, and the students do as well! This Scattegories-esque math game is called Mathagories. In this game, students are given three rounds to rack up points. They are provided with 10 fractions and their job is to come up with an equivalent fraction for each by the end of three minutes. Once the timer goes off, students cross-check one another’s work. (I added this step because it requires them to do more math for extra practice). A point is earned for each correct equivalent fraction. The student with the most points at the end of three rounds wins!
This game is perfect for small group math interventions in the classroom. Set it up to play for 10-15 minutes with a group that needs extra fraction practice. The students are always begging to play because they are so competitive. It can be a fun whole group warmup activity to a math lesson as well!
You can also set the game out for students to play on their own or as a fast finisher activity. You can easily set the pieces in photo bins or tubs for easy access. I always laminate the playing cards so students can reuse the sheets and I don’t have to reprint them as often. It’s great to have out any time of year for extra practice. Students also enjoy taking the game home to play with family and friends. Just print off extra sheets and send a few home with any child that is interested.
Before playing a competitive game like Mathagories, be sure to gauge whether your students can handle the speed and needs of the game. Some students may be determined to win and it will help them, but others may get overwhelmed.
Practicing Math Facts & Equivalent Fractions
It’s important that students know their math facts so they can apply that knowledge to the equivalent fractions they will be working with. If they struggle with common math facts, fractions will surely confuse them.
As you’re planning out your math activities this time of year, check out this post about Ways to Teach Math Facts for some fun ideas to help your students develop automaticity with basic math facts. Having automaticity with these facts is very helpful as students begin to learn more advanced math skills.