Break out the ruler and brush up on a little elementary math. Don't despair if numerators and denominators seem like a bore to your child. This colorful collage is sure to show him the brighter side of fractions. This is a great activity for kids having a hard time grasping the concept; being able to see and touch fractions helps kids understand fractions more clearly.
What You Do:
- Choose a fraction to start with. It's better to start simple even if your child is confident in his fraction skills.
- Have him write the chosen fraction on a sheet of construction paper with the black marker. Ask him to point out the numerator (top number) and the denominator (bottom number).
- Select a shape to represent the fraction, such as a rectangle or triangle. Help him draw the shape on another sheet of construction paper (preferably in a different color) using the pencil and ruler. Make sure the dimensions of the shape are in whole inches, ideally in a multiple of the denominator so the shape will be easy to cut up. For example, if your fraction is 3/4, you could make a rectangle that is 8 inches long, since 8 is a multiple of 4.
- Still using the ruler, divide the shape up into a number of segments equal to the denominator of your fraction. Using the example from step 3, you would divide the rectangle into 4, 2-inch segments.
- Have him cut out the whole shape from the construction paper.
- Flip over the sheet of construction paper that you wrote the fraction on and glue the shape onto the other side.
- Now have him choose another sheet of construction paper in a different color than the shape. Using the same measurements you used in step 4, draw a number of segments equal to the numerator of the fraction. Using the same example again, you would cut three 2-inch wide segments.
- Cut out the segments and glue them on top of the shape within the lines.
- You're done! Go back to step 1 and repeat with a different fraction.
Try attaching all your fraction collages to a large piece of poster board, overlapping them and arranging them in different directions for artistic effect.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.