Learning about fractions is an integral part of any middle school curriculum. Teaching these concepts can be tough, but these fun ways to teach fractions can make the probability of learning so much stronger! (I love Math puns.)
1. Use Fraction Manipulatives
Using fraction strips can help students see the processes rather than just know the math. The build it, draw it, write it model allows students to use fraction strips (small pieces of paper with fractions listed that students can build and put together to show the different operations) to actively model and show what they learn with their class. Students build the fractions with their strips, draw it out on paper, then write out the equations.
See it in action on Teaching Channel. Here’s a step-by-step lesson on using Fraction Strips with Teaching Mahollitz. Her practices are from an elementary classroom but definitely work with middle school students!
Dominoes are a perfect way to bring games and math together! Hold the dominoes vertically (the top number is the numerator; the bottom number is the denominator) and have students place the numbers on a number line in order. Play with both improper and proper fractions, or you can make sure the smaller number is on top to just focus on proper fractions. Learn more about number lines and fractions at Scholastic.com.
Working on operations? Line up two dominoes vertically and choose an operation. Have students write out and verbally explain their process!
3. Get Cookin’!
Make fractions relevant by showing practical applications outside the curriculum. Use different measuring tools and bake some cookies! Double recipes to teach multiplication with fractions. Talk about proportions and ratios by making a salad with several different kinds of fruit. Don’t have the facilities and supplies for kitchen activities? Check out this idea from Girl Tech and convert your favorite recipes based on the number of people who will partake!
4. Musical Fractions
Your students will be sure to think the glass is half full of fun with this fraction activity! (Well, it may be a 1/4 or 2/3. . .). First, fill up glasses with different fractions of water. Next, add some food coloring for fun. This also lets the students know it is the amount (fraction) of water in the glass (not the color) that makes the difference in the pitch when they hear the different sounds made when tapping the glasses with spoons! Let students write their own melodies by writing out the fractions on a piece of paper. Learn more about this and other magical math activities at weareteachers.com.
5. Math Mosaics
Build math mosaics with fractions of different colors. Teachers can provide the different challenges (1/4 of the design is blue, 1/4 yellow, 1/2 red). This activity makes for prime differentiation as teachers can challenge students with more difficult patterns or have the students come up with their own challenge. Designs can be completed with markers or crowns on grids or with pieces of tissue or construction paper. The possibilities are endless! See more ideas for math mosaics at Scholastic.com.
These hands-on activities can simplify the process of teaching fractions, and make it more fun!
Also published on Medium.