Wednesday, February 26, 2014

fractions on number lines

Last week after introducing plotting fractions on number lines, I was worried.
Like, very worried.
The kids didn't seem to "get it" very well.
I literally spent two days hearing, "I don't get it" and "I'm confused."
I even showed them the "draw a square shape connected to the number line and shade it according to the fraction you want to show" trick...
A represents 3/4. {source}
But even that visual just didn't do it for some.

This morning, after our long weekend, was not a great morning in AmandaBaby Land.
The little things were adding up, you know?
So I was extra worried about the lesson I had planned to start our day.
Here's what we did:

I (pre)made 7 sets of index cards with various proper and mixed fractions on them.
Today I asked the kids to arrange themselves into groups of 3 and I handed out a set of cards to each.
Their job was to put the fractions (index cards) on a number line.
That's it.
Some groups got out white boards so they could better understand the task.
Some got really creative and were lying out rulers to show the line so that they could properly space the fractions.
Others put flip flops equally spaced and labelled them 0, 1, 2, and 3 to represent the whole numbers.
(This was the coolest one to see and I, of course, didn't get a photo!)
All of this was a great time for me to rotate and ask groups questions about what they were doing and what I was seeing.
This in turn brought out some misconceptions, and more often, helped the kids recognize these straight away.
I was so pleased because... they got it!

After the number lines were complete, the groups did a gallery walk so we could critique the work of others.
Discussion ranged from "Something I saw that was wrong was..." to "We need to be sure we respect the work of other groups. We weren't asked to fix anything..."

The best part? 
After this activity, I actually heard kids saying things like "Fractions on number lines is fun!" and "I like doing this - it makes fractions seem so easy!"
Overall, the lesson was a huge success and was pretty much riddled with the Mathematical Practices!
I totally recommend this one and you can easily make up the fraction cards in a few minutes.

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