Lesson plan

Unit Fraction Frenzy

Help your students get familiar with creating models for unit fractions with this hands-on activity. Students will get into a frenzy creating many unit fraction models to reference as they learn more about fractions!
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Students will be able to create models to represent unit fractions.

(10 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that they will be building fraction models.
  • Remind students that a fraction is an equal part of one whole. Review that a numerator is the top number in a fraction, and the denominator is on the bottom.
  • Define a unit fraction as a basic fraction with a numerator of 1.
  • Write several examples on the board: ½, 1/3, ¼, etc.
  • Show students that each has a numerator of 1 with a different denominator.
  • Tell your students that they will create models.
(10 minutes)
  • Have your students return to their seats, and give out the materials.
  • Hold up an index card.
  • Explain that this rectangle represents 1 whole and that it is not broken into any parts yet. Show the unit fraction ½, and explain that the fraction has two important pieces of information: the numerator and the denominator.
  • Explain that the denominator indicates how many equal parts to break the whole into.
  • Have students take one index card, and direct them to fold the card in half.
  • Emphasize that the card is now broken into halves, and label each part as ½.
  • Explain that one of these parts is ½ of the whole and that one part is a unit fraction.
  • Repeat with 1/3, and ¼. Continue to emphasize that each part must be equal, and the numerator must be 1.
(15 minutes)
  • Instruct your students to create unit fraction models for 1/5, 1/6, and 1/7.
  • Have students check with one another to make sure each part is equal.
  • After each unit fraction, have one student share the model he created.
  • Have students place all of the models they have created so far in front of them.
  • Ask students what they notice about the fractions. For example, how does the size of the parts change as the denominator increases?
(15 minutes)
  • Have students continue to create models for unit fractions of 1/8, 1/10, and 1/12.
  • Direct your students to glue the models into their notebooks for future reference.
  • Enrichment: Challenge students to create other models of unit fractions using different shapes such as circles, squares, etc. Students may also create more unit fractions with larger denominators.
  • Support: For students who are struggling, draw the lines on the rectangle, and have the student determine the correct label.
(5 minutes)
  • During the lesson, circulate as students create and label unit fractions.
  • At the end of the lesson, check your students' notebooks to make sure that students are creating accurate models of the unit fractions.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students pair and share the definition of a unit fraction and share one example from their notebooks.

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