Lesson Plan

Word Problems: Adding Mixed Number Fractions

Children often wonder if algorithms are practical. Using this lesson plan, your students will see how the standard algorithm for adding mixed numbers brings life to real world real-world situations.
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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to solve addition word problems that include mixed number fractions with unlike denominators.


(5 minutes)
Swimming in Word Problems: Practicing Adding Mixed Number Fractions
  • Have one student stand at a corner of the room, another student stand in the middle of a wall (half way between corners) and hand one of them a marker.
  • Set the scene, "This will be a relay, a task where the activity is divided between’ participants. Everyone stand behind the starting student with the marker."
  • Tell the student holding the marker, "When you give the signal, to travel along the wall and hand off the marker to the next student, who will travel along the perimeter and hand the marker to you."
  • When everyone is clear on the instructions, announce the signal like "Go!"
  • Upon receiving the marker, ask your class, “How many walls did each student travel with the marker?” (Before it got to you, in a four-walled room, the answer should include two mixed numbers. Any combination like 1 1/2 + 2 1/2.)
  • Then ask your class, "How many walls did both students travel, all together?" The answer, for a typical four-walled room, will be four.
  • Highlight with your students how the relay was a demonstration of a sum of two mixed numbers (i.e 1 1/2 + 2 1/2) which is what today’s lesson will be about.