When first introduced to a child's education, fractions are often intimidating and difficult to understand. Make the concept easier to grasp by applying the idea of fractions to an everyday, familiar situation such as cooking and meals. By involving your child in activities that you do on a daily basis that involve fractions, you will help familiarize him with this big idea in a non-threatening, encouraging way.
To understand the basics of fractions, your child must begin to gain knowledge about the idea that things can be divided evenly and that objects and numbers can be expressed as parts of a whole. Understanding this essential principle will form a foundation for learning concepts such as measurement, time, and money, which are all discussed in terms of a parts of a whole.
What You Need:
- Round or square food items such as sandwiches, bagels, cookies, donuts, pies or pizza.
- Measuring cups and spoons
What You Do:
- Encourage your child to cut sandwiches, bagels or other food items into halves, quarters and thirds.
- Invite your child to help you in the kitchen, especially when you are measuring. Talk about cups, 1/2 cup, 1/4 teaspoon and so on.
- Give your child a plate of cookies and encourage him to divide them equally among friends.
- These are some vocabulary words that can be used to enhance your child's understanding of fractions.
- Next time you visit the library, check out one of these books:
- Moonbear by Frank Asch. Simon & Schuster, 1993.
- Half a Moon and One Whole Star by Crescent Dragonwagon. Macmillan, 1986.
- The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. Greenwillow, 1986.
- Eating Fractions by Bruce McMillan. Scholastic, 1991.
Adapted with permission from "Count On Math: Activities for Small Hands and Lively Minds." Copyright 1997 by Pam Schiller and Lynne Peterson. Used with permission of Gryphon House, Inc., Maryland. All Rights Reserved.