EL Support Lesson

Fraction Visuals

This lesson helps your students become confident mathematicians when it comes to representing fractions visually in a variety of ways. Use this lesson as a pre-lesson to Fraction Hunt or teach it independently.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Fraction Hunt lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Fraction Hunt lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify and write fractions based on things they observe in everyday life.


Students will be able to explain the structure of a fraction and various fraction visual representations with sentence stems and peer support.

(4 minutes)
  • Explain to students that an integer is a whole number. Ask them what they think the numbers in between integers are called. Allow students to brainstorm with a partner to activate their background knowledge. Guide students to discover the concept that there are parts of whole numbers that are called fractions. Invite students to share what they discussed with their partners and record their ideas on a piece of chart paper.
  • Elaborate that fractions are defined as numbers that are not whole numbers or integers. Explain that a fraction is a part of a whole number. Tell students that the word "part" means the opposite of the word "whole." Part of something is just some of it but the word whole means all of it. Show examples of the meaning of "part" vs. "whole" using complete sentences and images (e.g., "I ate part of my sandwich, not the whole thing," "Part of my family has brown eyes," "Maya has a whole cake, but she wants to share part of it with her friends.").
(7 minutes)
  • Lead students in an exploration of the variety of types of fractions and different places we see or use them. First, gather their background knowledge on fractions by facilitating a brain dump of all things related to the concept.
  • Display and pose these questions to students: Where or when in your life have you experienced fractions? How did you know it was a fraction?
  • Place students into effective partnerships and have them answer the questions with the support of these sentence stems: "I have seen fractions in ____. I know it is a fraction because ____."
  • Invite a few students to share their answers.
  • Tell students that today they will be exploring the structure of a fraction and various ways to draw or visually represent a fraction. Inform them they will become experts on explaining and describing fractions because they will practice talking and writing about them multiple times using key mathematical terms. Tell students that in this lesson they will be supported by sentence starters and peer interaction.
  • Read aloud this word problem: "Elisa slices a loaf of bread into 10 slices and then she eats 1 slice. How could you show the fraction of the loaf of bread that Elisa ate?" Model to students how to draw a bar model, split it into 10 equal parts and color in one part to represent the 1/10 of the loaf that she ate. Write 1/10 next to the bar model. Explain that you could also represent this fraction in a different way, such as by drawing 10 rectangles to represent the 10 slices of bread and shade one rectangle. Lastly, show how you could draw a number line from 0 to 1, with sections of 1/10, 2/10, 3/10, etc., and circle the 1/10.
  • Explain that all of these visual representations or drawings of this fraction are valid. Essentially, they mean the same thing. Tell students that they will explore these ways of drawing and explaining fractions.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the Fraction Terms worksheet to students and display a teacher copy on the document camera. Tell them that they will go over the structure of a fraction and key terms in the fraction.
  • Read aloud the teaching box on the top and emphasize the parts of a fraction which include two whole numbers and a line in the middle. State that the number on top of the line is called the numerator and it represents the parts being counted. Explain that the number below the line is called the denominator and it signifies the total parts that make up the whole.
  • Explain that in this worksheet, they will see a shape that has been divided into equal parts, with some of the parts shaded or colored in. To the right of the shape, students are to write the numerator and the denominator to create a fraction that is represented by the drawing.
  • Call for a student volunteer to be your partner as you model how to orally describe these fractions. Complete the first two fractions with your partner and use the following sentence stems to describe one of the fractions:
    • "In this fraction, the numerator is ____ because ____. The denominator is ____ because ____. The fraction can be read as ____." (e.g., "In this fraction, the numerator is 6 because 6 parts are shaded in. The denominator is 10 because there are ten total equal parts in the drawing. The fraction can be read is six-tenths.")
  • Have students work with their partner to determine the fraction represented by each image and describe it to their partner.
  • Review the worksheet as a whole group and call on students to explain their reasoning behind the answers using the sentence frame above. Confirm or correct students' explanations.
(12 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will now practice drawing fractions and talking about each representation 3 times with different partners.
  • Place students into groups of 4 and ensure they are sitting near each other. Assign each member of the group a letter (A, B, C, or D).
  • Hand out a blank piece of paper to each student and instruct them to fold it into three sections (like a pamphlet). On the document camera, model to students how you draw the fraction 2/3 in three different ways (options include bar model, shape model, circle, triangle, square, number line, part of a group). Note: draw each visual representation in each of the three sections of the divided paper.
  • Model how you write a description of the drawings using the sentence frames below on the back of the paper on which you drew the 3 drawings.
    • "This visual representation shows the fraction ____. I drew ____ and ____ to show ____." (e.g., "This visual representation shows the fraction 2/3. I drew a number line from 0–1 with 3 equal parts called 1/3, 2/3, and 3/3 and circled the the 2/3 to show that this fraction is between 0 and 1." OR "This visual representation shows the fraction two-thirds. I drew three balls and colored two of them blue to show that 2/3 of the balls are blue.")
    • "I drew ____. ____ parts out of ____ total parts of ____ can be expressed as ____ (fraction). This number can be read as ____ (word form)." (e.g., "I drew a circle divided into 3 equal parts and colored in 2 of the parts. 2 parts out of 3 total parts of the pie can be expressed as 2/3. This number can be read as two-thirds.")
  • Assign a fraction for each letter of the group. For example, the A's get 1/4, the B's get 3/5, the C's get 5/6, and the D's get 3/8. Instruct students to draw the same fraction in different ways and write descriptions of their drawings on the other side of the paper. Remind them to use the sentence frames as support and to always write in complete sentences.
  • Have students share all of their drawings and explanations with the three members of their group. For the first sharing, they are allowed to refer to their written description for support but for the second and third explanation, they are to only look at the visual representations of the fraction.
  • Circulate and offer assistance as needed. Listen in to student conversations and observe if they become stronger and clearer in their explanations by the third time.


  • Provide bilingual resources such as online dictionaries to help students look up the meaning of any unknown words.
  • Give students partially completed visual representation of the fraction assigned to them so that they only have to finish the drawing.
  • Place students with sympathetic partners who are able to help them through the drawing and explaining process.
  • Provide students with math manipulatives such as fraction strips or pre-made number lines to facilitate their drawings.


  • Students may write descriptions of their drawings without the support of the sentence frames.
  • Allow students to draw visual representations for a more complex fraction.
  • Let advanced students be the first to rephrase key points or share their thinking during group work.
(5 minutes)
  • On a piece of chart paper or on the board, draw various ways to represent five-sixths. For example, draw a number line to show 5/6, draw a circle divided into sixths and shade in 5 parts, and also draw 6 objects (e.g., stars) with 5 objects colored in red. Tip: do not actually write 5/6 or five-sixths until after students have described what they see.
  • Tell students to consider the drawings and orally describe what they see by stating to a partner, "I see..."
  • Discuss their observations as a whole class and guide students to the discovery that even though each drawing is different, they all represent the same fraction, 5/6.
(2 minutes)
  • Remind students that if they are able to show and explain multiple ways to represent a fraction, their understanding of fractions and ability to solve more complex problems involving fractions will be stronger.
  • Congratulate students on their hard work in today's lesson at practicing their math thinking with fractions.

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