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Teaching Kids to Make Connections With Fractions

fractional relationship sort

Don’t you love the word “rigorous”?  Rigorous has been an educational buzz word for some time. If you’re anything like me, you have heard that term enough for rigor mortis to set in!!  In an effort to make my math instruction more rigorous, I typed up this math sort to use when teaching fractions.  I gave this activity to my class towards the end of my 3rd grade fraction unit after we had discussed fractions on clocks, fractions in measurement, and fractional parts of a dollar.

sorting by topic
Many kids sort their cards by topic.

Sorting by Topic

My class was told to cut out the cards and sort them, but I didn’t tell them how to sort them.  I wanted to see what would happen.  Not surprisingly, a lot of my kiddos put all the clocks into a group, all the coins in a group, etc. Even though this is not what I’m looking for, it gives me insight to their level of thinking. These are the students I need to gear my instruction towards.

sorting by relationship
This is the level you want kids to reach.

Sorting by Fractional Relationship

The picture above shows what I was looking for and I was amazed to see that many of my kids sorted them by the fractional relationship.  This was wonderful because I could tell they were making the connections I was looking for.

Taking it Further

With some guidance, everyone sorted their cards the “correct way”.  Then we added the sorts to our math journals and the kids explained the relationships.

representing one half in money, telling time, and measurement
representing one fourth in money, telling time, and measurement
representing three forths in money, telling time, and measurement

This was an enlightening activity.  Even though some of my students really had to stretch to make the connections, I was glad we did this.  It is very rewarding to see some higher level thinking taking place.

If you would like to try this fraction sort with your class, you can download this freebie at my TpT store. Leave me a comment and let me know how it works with your kids.

What activities do you use to help your students make connections when teaching fractions?

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