- Third Grade
- 60 minutes
- Standards: 3.NF.A.1
Help your students get familiar with creating models for unit fractions with this hands-on activity. Students will get into a frenzy creating many unit fraction models to reference as they learn more about fractions!
Students will be able to create models to represent unit fractions.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Explain to your students that they will be building fraction models.
- Remind students that a fraction is an equal part of one whole. Review that a numerator is the top number in a fraction, and the denominator is on the bottom.
- Define a unit fraction as a basic fraction with a numerator of 1.
- Write several examples on the board: ½, 1/3, ¼, etc.
- Show students that each has a numerator of 1 with a different denominator.
- Tell your students that they will create models.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Have your students return to their seats, and give out the materials.
- Hold up an index card.
- Explain that this rectangle represents 1 whole and that it is not broken into any parts yet. Show the unit fraction ½, and explain that the fraction has two important pieces of information: the numerator and the denominator.
- Explain that the denominator indicates how many equal parts to break the whole into.
- Have students take one index card, and direct them to fold the card in half.
- Emphasize that the card is now broken into halves, and label each part as ½.
- Explain that one of these parts is ½ of the whole and that one part is a unit fraction.
- Repeat with 1/3, and ¼. Continue to emphasize that each part must be equal, and the numerator must be 1.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)
- Instruct your students to create unit fraction models for 1/5, 1/6, and 1/7.
- Have students check with one another to make sure each part is equal.
- After each unit fraction, have one student share the model he created.
- Have students place all of the models they have created so far in front of them.
- Ask students what they notice about the fractions. For example, how does the size of the parts change as the denominator increases?
Independent Working Time (15 minutes)
- Have students continue to create models for unit fractions of 1/8, 1/10, and 1/12.
- Direct your students to glue the models into their notebooks for future reference.
- Enrichment: Challenge students to create other models of unit fractions using different shapes such as circles, squares, etc. Students may also create more unit fractions with larger denominators.
- Support: For students who are struggling, draw the lines on the rectangle, and have the student determine the correct label.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- During the lesson, circulate as students create and label unit fractions.
- At the end of the lesson, check your students' notebooks to make sure that students are creating accurate models of the unit fractions.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Have students pair and share the definition of a unit fraction and share one example from their notebooks.