For many kids, the best way to learn about fractions is to represent them visually. Visual learners in particular can get bogged down by multi-step word problems. This activity will help your child tackle those tricky fraction word problems by way of a hands-on method.
What You Do:
- Prep for this game by making the playing cards. On each index card, write out a fraction word problem. These are pretty easy to write once you get the hang of it. Here are four to start with. Refer to your child's math textbook for more ideas. Note: Start playing this game with eight as the constant denominator. You can change this up as your child gets the hang of it.
- Theresa baked an apple pie and cut it into eight pieces. She ate one, and gave one to John. What is the fraction of the remaining pie?
- Peter has eight pieces of candy. He gave Julie three, Tracy three and Dan one. What is the fraction of the candy that he gave away?
- Natasha bought eight cookies. She gave two to her brother, two to her dad, and two to her mom. What is the fraction for the number of cookies she has left?
- Rose has eight baseball cards. She gave two to Tom and two to Michael. How many cards did she give away?
- Now, help your child to make her own Personal Pie Chart. Use a compass or trace a large coffee can on a piece of colored construction paper. Cut it out. This will be your base. Repeat this step with a piece of white paper. Evenly divide the circle into eight pieces, or wedges. Now, have your child color each of the eight pieces a different color and cut them out. It's fun to play this game with your child, so feel free to make your own Personal Pie Chart!
- Review fractions with your child using the Personal Pie Chart. Discuss numerators and denominators. Give her a couple of practice runs: ask her to use the chart to show 1/2, 2/6, 3/8, 7/8.
- Tell your child that you are now going to play a game with her Personal Pie Chart! Drawing from the pile of playing cards, challenge your child to solve the word problem and show you the answer on her Personal Pie Chart. You may need to do the first few together. Take turns drawing cards, and, as your child gets more comfortable, set up a point system for every correct answer.
After your child has mastered denominators of eight, create new wedges for your Personal Pie Chart and playing cards for other denominators. The possibilities are endless!
Chris McAllister has taught both fourth and fifth grade for nine years in Atlanta, specializing in bringing technology into the classroom.