Lesson Plan

Fractions and Word Problems

Fractions are in everyday life! This lesson reviews how to solve word problems involving fractions using tape diagrams. The problems include addition, subtraction, and multiplication of fractions.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Fractional Tape Diagram Descriptions pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Fractional Tape Diagram Descriptions pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to solve fraction word problems with tape diagrams.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
Fraction Word Problems: Pie TimeFraction Word Problems: Strawberry StandMulti-Step Fraction Word Problems
  • Provide a scenario for the students that involves 3 − 1 5/8. For example, say, "There were three pies. The students ate 1 5/8 of the pies. How much pie is left over?" Ask students to solve for the problem on their whiteboards using whatever method they choose.
  • Have students share their answers with their elbow partner. Gather their background knowledge by asking them questions about the numerator, denominator, and how they got their answer. Then have them show whatever drawings they created.
  • Ask for a volunteer to come to the board and solve the problem using a tape diagram. Remind students that a tape diagram, or bar model, is a visual model that use rectangles to represent the parts of a whole.
  • Tell students that today they'll show their understanding of fractions by solving word problems that involve fractions.


  • Allow students to use their home language (L1) or new language (L2) in their discussions.
  • Have them discuss the example problem with their partner and encourage them to use the visuals they draw to help them explain their answer.
  • Tell them to draw a tape diagram and explain the meaning of the new vocabulary term.


  • Write the academic language students can use throughout the lesson on the board as you introduce the language.
  • Model using sentence stems as you rephrase some students' answers you hear during student discussions. For example, "The answer is ________. I know this answer is correct because ________."
  • Ask them to think about where they've seen tape diagrams in the past.