As you enter your next fractions unit, consider the importance building a strong mathematical foundation can play in student learning. Each new math skill builds upon the last. In order for students to master fractions, they need to have mastered earlier basic math facts. Over the years, I have used a variety of methods to teach fractions. I want to share those simple, fun, and educational strategies with you today!
Whole Group Practice
Whether you are practicing math facts and fractions activities for morning work or the first part of your math block, whole group practice is an important aspect of student learning. Using a variety of manipulatives and objects is the best way to give students hands-on practice for solving fractions. This is especially true the first few times they work with fractions.
Use pattern blocks or other shape manipulatives to let students form small fractions like halves and thirds. Graph paper makes a fantastic tool to chart number lines for fractions or for creating shapes and dividing them into parts. Students are able to see their fractions taking shape with these classroom items.
Another great tool is a deck of cards! There are so many games you can play with a classic pack of cards. Use common games like Go Fish or Old Maid to practice basic math facts as well as fractions. I talk more about these fractions strategies in this post: 4 Easy Games to Practice Fractions in Math.
Using already created videos online is an easy and effective way to reinforce skills you are teaching in your fractions unit. After teaching your lesson, use some of the fractions videos mentioned in Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers Teaching Ideas. Students love the fun ways the fractions are re-taught. I find that providing several ways for students to learn a concept covers all the bases when it comes to their differentiated learning.
Small Group Learning
If you’re like me, you have small groups for math block where you work with a smaller set of students on a skill. Using these small group learning times during your fractions unit is important in making sure students are grasping new skills and retaining the information for future lessons. Whenever possible, make the activities you do in small groups into a game. Any time students are playing a game, they hardly notice they are learning!
I use a variety of card games, digital games, and manipulatives I already have in the classroom to turn things into a game. I love using this Digital Dice Game that I talk about in my post about 4 Easy Games to Practice Fractions in Math.
One of my students favorite games is Math-a-gories! The game is set up just like Scattergories, but is meant to practice math skills, such as fractions. It’s a great addition to your fractions unit because it can be used all year long and students can never get enough of it. Read more about it in Equivalent Fractions Activities to Engage Your Students.
Use Escape Games as a Review
An exciting and hands-on way to wrap up your fractions unit is to turn your classroom into an escape room! Escape rooms provide a way for kids to practice their math skills while working collaboratively. Every time they play I get to see them using communication skills and learning new things from one another.
Escape games make great review games because they are simple to set up and can be used for any educational skill you can imagine. You can offer prizes to the fastest team or any team that completes their mission. Use them as a reward throughout the year or just for fun!
I have two math escape games that you can print and implement in the classroom right away. One game focuses on fractions and decimals and the other lets students review multiplying whole numbers and fractions. You can check them both out by heading over to this post: 4 Easy Games to Practice Fractions in Math.
Teaching a successful fractions unit is all about balance. It means incorporating whole group, small group, and independent work in a meaningful way for students. Make sure you are adding in teaching strategies that reach every students, whether that be technology, games, or manipulatives.
You can learn more about 5 Tips To Make Teaching Fractions Easier by reading this post.