Apr 18, 2013

Pattern Blocks: Equivalent Fractions

Last week I posted about my newfound love for pattern blocks, especially for teaching fractions.  I gave all the kids each of the pieces and had them determine the value of each piece, if the hexagon equaled one.  The next week they used this information to find as many equivalent fractions as they could.  Even my low kids could do this because they could still choose a piece and sort out what other pieces fit "on top" of it.  And my high kids loved it because they could start thinking deeper and mixing different fraction combinations.  One of my high-bies even started thinking hypothetically about cutting the sixths in half but had a hard time explaining why dividing sixths would double the denominator.  As they worked with a partner, they made a list showing the fraction and equivalents.

As you can see, they even started getting into adding fractions with different denominators.  When I asked them why you could add different fractions, they were able to relate it back to equivalent fractions with common denominators.  Once we transitioned all that concrete work to the pictorial and abstract representations, they picked up on it quickly.  Any that struggled were able to fall back to the pattern blocks again to help them solve the problems.  Totally worth two days of math time, to save me a week of teaching fractions five different ways looking for a way that would stick with everyone.

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