Lesson Plan

Halves as Fair Shares

Who wouldn't want to split a birthday cake with their best friend? In this lesson, students will practice dividing circles and rectangles into halves as they develop an understanding of equal shares.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Share a Pizza pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Share a Pizza pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to divide circles and rectangles into equal parts and identify halves.

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


(5 minutes)
Equal/Unequal Parts ExamplesDivide the Shapes in HalfFour Equal Quarters
  • Ask students to give you a thumbs-up if they have ever eaten birthday cake.
  • Tell students to imagine a small birthday cake, and draw a circle on the board.
  • Say something like, "My friend and I are going to split this birthday cake." Draw a line diagonally across the cake, but do not divide the circle in half.
  • Say, "My friend thinks this is a fair way to share the cake." Ask students whether they think the cake is divided equally. Have students explain their thinking, and talk about how they notice that one piece of the circle is bigger than the other.


  • Show students a picture of an actual birthday cake.
  • Label the unequal parts "smaller" and "bigger."
  • Partner with a student who speaks same home language (L1), and have the pair explain why the cake is not divided fairly in L1.


  • Provide the sentence stem, "The cake is not divided equally because ________." Have students share thinking with a partner.