Lesson plan

Fractions as Part of a Whole

In this lesson, students will learn how to understand that a fraction is a number that describes the relationship between a part and a whole.
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Students will learn to divide whole objects into equal parts and to identify those parts as fractions.

(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that this activity will introduce them to fractions as parts of a whole.
  • Show students a drawing of a square and circle divided into 4 equal parts each and a hexagon divided into 6 equal parts. These can be drawn on an interactive whiteboard, blackboard, whiteboard, or on chart paper.
  • Show, by coloring in parts, one quarter of each the square and the circle. In a different color, fill in two quarters of each shape and tell your students that this is also known as one half of each of those figures.
  • Using a square of paper, show your students how you can fold it in half, and then fold it in half again to create fourths.
  • Fold a strip of paper or construction paper in half to show two halves, then fold again to show quarters, and then fold it again to show eighths.
(20 minutes)
  • Give each student the strips of construction paper and a number 10 envelope.
  • Give students directions to cut and label the strips.
  • Ask students to take a strip of a particular color, fold it in half, and cut it into two pieces.
  • Have students label each piece 1/2.
  • At this point, review the rational for the one half notation by explaining that the whole has been divided into two pieces of the same size, and that each piece is one of the two pieces, and that the 1/2 notation means one of two equal pieces.
  • You will choose a color for the next strip and have students fold it and cut it into four equal pieces. Talk about each piece being one of fourth and ask students to label each piece as 1/4.
  • Now have your students fold, cut, and label a third strip into eighths.
  • Students will leave the fourth strip whole and label it 1 or 1/1.
  • Each student now has a Fraction Kit. Helping them fold and cut their own kit helps them to relate the fractional notation to the concrete pieces and compare the sizes of the fractional parts as well.
  • Have the students label the back of their pieces with their initials or names and place them into the envelopes you have given them.
(15 minutes)
  • Students will play a game called Uncover to learn the importance of equivalent fractions.
  • Each student starts with the whole strip covered with the two 1/2 pieces.
  • The goal is to be the first to uncover the strip completely.
  • Students take turns rolling the fraction die for their group.
  • The student has three options on each turn: to remove a piece if they have a piece that is the size indicated on the die, to exchange any of the pieces left for equivalent pieces, or to do nothing and pass the cube to the next player.
(10 minutes)
  • Give students paper with strips drawn on it and tell them how you would like the strips colored. For example you could ask them to color 1/2 of the first strip red and 3/4 of the second strip blue.
  • Give students a sheet with five or six strips on it. Have them use their cutouts and crayons to show what they have learned about fractional parts of a whole.
  • Enrichment: For students who need a challenge, you could add sixteenths on a fifth strip of construction paper.
  • Support: For students having difficulty, you could have the strips cut out for them, and give them a hand with folding their strips. If there are quite a number of students requiring help you could provide them with dotted lines to show where to cut apart their strips.
(10 minutes)
  • Take notes as students work in their groups to help determine the level of understanding of the students.
  • Mark the students work they completed in the individual task.
(5 minutes)
  • Review with students the halves, quarters, and eighths of a strip of paper.
  • Translate this to parts of a candy bar.
  • Refer back to the drawings used at the beginning of the lesson to show fractions of a square, circle, and hexagon.

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