Copyright | Super Teacher Ideas :Teaching Fractions with Cakes and Pies

Submitted by Jessica from Seattle, Washington

- Just the kids at first!
- Graph paper and lined paper (or you can make your own worksheets)

I begin with the introduction of surveys. We do this early in the year as part of the get to know you activities. I have the kids create a survey about favorite things, allowing for 4 categories. So someone could survey favorite sports and offer the choices: Soccer, Football, Baseball, or Swimming.

They begin by taking a tally and getting answers from everyone in the class. Then they make a graph. We analyze the graphs and we begin to discuss how 9 out of 25 like baseball, and 4 out of 25 like swimming.

We continue with this activity as part of our daily morning meeting activity we do a short survey with a raise of hands. We report the results in fraction form on the board. 3/25 had pancakes for breakfast, 22/25 did not have pancakes. Something simple. I try to vary it enough so they can see lots of examples. Some results in which it is almost everyone, some which it may be nearly half and some which would be very few. Sometimes as a visual the kids also stand up and we can see how many out of the whole like one thing or another.

I have my students work in teams of four to come up with a survey question they will ask 100 people (25 each.) Groups of 5 will ask 20 people each and I have a separate form in this case. They create a survey and get the results, breaking up and going to visit other classes, the library, the office, and so forth. We get the answer, the person's age and gender. We sort and classify the results, and create graphs. We create a fraction to show each answer as well.

With the number 100, I also briefly introduce decimals and percentages, though my third graders are just beginning to understand them. They do wonder about them though, and this is a good way to show them how a fraction, decimal and percent are connected.

Along with these lessons in data, I also do hands on activities with fraction puzzles, pie slices, the pizza game and some worksheets.

We do paper folding and create fraction books with common fractions represented such as half, fourths, thirds and so on. However, the most memorable part of the fraction unit is the data collection project.

Our curriculum is great, and it introduces fractions as brownies, and cookies, which the kids love and I do those lessons throughout the unit as well, though am not bound to the curriculum and can use what I like from it.

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