August 3, 2015
by Dee Mulhern

Lesson plan

Comparing Cake Slices

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Students will be able to compare models of different fractions with denominators of 2 and 4 to determine value.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather students together. Engage the students with a story about being very hungry for dessert and having to choose a slice from one of two cakes. Tell your students that one piece of cake came from a cake sliced into four pieces and the other from a cake sliced into two pieces.
  • Show students a visual of the two cakes. Discuss with students how both whole cakes are the same size.
  • Tell the students that in order for you to choose a slice, you need to look at each piece as a fraction. Divide the cakes into halves and fourths.
(15 minutes)
  • Hold up a picture of both slices. Write ¼ and 1/2 under each slice.
  • Tell students to take notice of the denominators and size of each slice.
  • Facilitate a discussion about how a greater denominator does not necessarily mean a larger part. Discuss which slice is greater. For example, discuss why 2/4 is not bigger than 1/1.
  • Give another example, this time comparing 2/4 to 2/2. Discuss with students the value of each fraction compared to each other and the cake as a whole.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the Cake Mania worksheet. Have students cut out the ice cream cake and rainbow cake pieces.
  • Have students compare 1/2 of the ice cream cake to ¾ of the rainbow cake.
  • Ask your students to share with a partner to choose and write the greater than or less than signs to compare 2/4 to ¾.
  • Practice with more examples.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the Comparing Fractions worksheet. Complete the first example with the students. Relate models to the cake pieces that the students previously used.
  • Have students work in pairs to complete the worksheet.
  • Enrichment: Have students design their own cakes and compare fractions to match. Encourage students to find equivalent fractions.
  • Support: For a student in need of extra support, have the student place the slices on a blank outline of a whole cake for each fraction.
(10 minutes)
  • Collect and analyze student work to check for mastery.
  • Circulate while students work.
  • Use whiteboards at the end of the lesson to have students draw the correct symbols to compare two fractions.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the students back together. Facilitate a discussion about the work they completed. Focus on discussing how to prove that the comparisons are accurate using models.
  • Go through a few more examples with students. Have students hold up whiteboards to display their answers.

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