Lesson Plan

Modeling Fraction Subtraction

Encourage student explanations and visual representation of fraction subtraction in this interactive lesson. Use this lesson on its own or as support to the lesson Modeling Mixed Number Subtraction.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Modeling Mixed Number Subtraction lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Modeling Mixed Number Subtraction lesson plan.



Students will be able to model subtraction with like denominators.


Students will be able to describe and ask questions about a visual model for subtraction fractions using color-coding and peer supports.


(5 minutes)
Visually Subtracting FractionsVocabulary Cards: Modeling Fraction SubtractionGlossary: Modeling Fraction SubtractionTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives Reference
  • Tell students to look at the visual you drew on the board from the example from the Visually Subtracting Fractions worksheet. Ask students to write on their whiteboards what they think about the visual. Encourage them to draw the visual on their whiteboards and label it if they can (e.g., "numerator," "denominator," "subtraction symbol," etc.).
  • Ask students to share their boards with their partners and have them talk about what the visual may represent. ("I have ________ because ________. I think ________. The visual shows ________.")
  • Conduct a class discussion about the visual and lead them to label the numerator and denominator on the board. Explain the blue coloring is the number they subtract from a fraction problem and the red coloring represents the group of numbers from which it is subtracted.
  • Share the meanings of the terms minuend, subtrahend, and difference as you label them with arrows pointed to their represented number in the number sentence 911511.
  • Write the student-friendly language objective on the board and have students choral read it with you.