Lesson Plan

Make It Work! Adding Fractions with Unlike Denominators

Adding fractions with unlike denominators just doesn't work like it does when the denominators are the same. Let's make it work! Students will add fractions with unlike denominators with sums between one and two.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Explaining Fraction Addition pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Explaining Fraction Addition pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to add fractions with unlike denominators with sums between one and two.

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

Introduction

(5 minutes)
Fraction StripsMake It Work! Adding Fractions with Unlike Denominators
  • Have the students get into partners, and give each pair of students a set of pattern blocks (one hexagon, six triangles, two trapezoids).
  • Explain to your students that the hexagon represents one whole.
  • Instruct students to figure out how many triangles make up the hexagon by putting the triangles on top of the hexagon. Then, instruct students to work with partners to figure out how many trapezoids make up the hexagon.
  • Tell students that there are three ways to make one whole by using these pattern blocks: one hexagon or six triangles or two trapezoids.
  • Explain that when we look at how many total of each shape we have, that gives us the denominator, or the number below the line in a common fraction. Remind your class that a fraction is a number that represents parts of a whole.
  • Tell your class that, today, they're going to find common denominators between two fractions so that they can add fractions with unlike denominators.

Beginning

  • Allow students to use their home language (L1) or new language (L2) in their discussions.
  • Have them restate the meaning of "numerator" and "denominator" and the position of both in a fraction.

Intermediate

  • Write the academic language students can use throughout the lesson on the board as you introduce the language. For example, the words "equivalent," "bar models," "number lines," "numerator," and "denominator."
  • Have them explain in partnerships the difference between the denominator and the numerator.