My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit

29 November 2016 / Leave a Comment

Do you need a fun way to kick off a fractions unit?

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Teaching fractions can be daunting. Numerator, denominator, equivalent fractions, improper fractions..they are all unfamiliar words to the average primary student. Having students constantly repeat and work with these mathematical vocabulary terms is vital to their success. 

In my third year of teaching I came up with Fraction Play Stations for my 5th grades. Every year after that it was my favorite way to kick off my fractions unit (even when I moved to 2nd grade) because I found that it excited my students and got them working with and thinking about those key vocabulary terms.

Why Should I Implement Fraction Play Stations?

You should implement fraction play stations because it is easy, fun and interactive. It provides a different way of looking at fractions and working with the key terms: numerator and denominator. A fraction is defined as a part of a whole and often times we are conditioned to think about a pizza cut into equal pieces. However, there are many different ways fractions appear in our world and I think it is important to expose our students to those different ways in order to promote critical thinkers. 

How?

All you need are 5-6 stations. Pull in those parent volunteers if you have any available๐Ÿ™„. However, it is totally doable without volunteers if your students are use to visiting different centers/stations throughout the day and are not overly competitive. Examples of stations I have used are mentioned towards the end of this post.

Here is what you need:

Download this FREE editable by clicking the image:

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Type in the name of your stations under the "Station" column. You will fill in how many tries your students will get at each station under the "Denominator" column.  Ex: 4 attempts to get the golf ball in the hole.




Once you have the first two columns filled in, print a copy for each student. Students will be responsible for filling in the numerator (the successful attempts they have at each station) and the fraction. Print out the half sheets and give one to each student. I always had my students carry it around on a clipboard or glue it into their math notebook.

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Explain that they are going to visit play stations in small groups. Each student will get a certain amount of attempts at each station. This will be the denominator. They will record how many successful attempts they have at the activity. This will be the numerator. At the end, they will form their fractions. This will show them that the more successful attempts they had, the closer the numerator would be compared to the denominator.  It is just a different way to think about fractions! If you are an upper elementary teacher then you can take your students a step further by talking about reducing fractions and equivalent fractions.

If you follow my blog, The Techie Teacher, you know that I can't blog without providing some sort of technology alternative to paper and pencil. Those of you who have access to iPads could screenshot one of the recording sheets once you have filled out the editable information. Next, have your students save it to their iPads (You will need to figure out the best way to get the image to your students: Post to Google Classroom, drop screenshot into Google or Dropbox and turn the url into a QR code, upload to Comemories, etc.). Have students upload the image to an whiteboard app like Educreations, ShowMe or Screenchomp. They can carry their iPads around (I also recommend having them use a stylus pen or Q-Tip to write in the small boxes) and document their numerator:



After visiting the different stations, students can explain their thinking as they write in their fraction and record themselves saying the fraction aloud. Here is an example:

                      

My stations were easy to set up. The PE teacher was able to hook me up with most of the equipment I needed. Most likely you have all the equipment you need in your classroom (a.k.a. random school supplies). Ex: Throw an eraser into a container and BOOM, you have a station.

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Golf Clubs (borrowed from PE teacher)
  • Golf Balls (borrowed from PE teacher)
  • Hole (Turn an empty Country Crock Butter Container upside down and cut an arch for the ball's entryway)


My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Large coffee can or any container
  • Small erasers

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Small basketballs (borrowed from PE teacher)
  • Clean Trashcan, large container or one of those plastic basketball nets

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Rings
  • Something skinny and long to catch the rings
I purchased the inflatable flamingo you see from Oriental Trading. You could easily turn a chair upside and use one of the legs to catch the rim of a plastic cup that you cut off the top of a Solo cup. We teachers have to get creative due to our limited budget๐Ÿ˜œ.

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Bowling Set (borrowed from PE teacher)
                         
    OR
  • Plastic Water Bottles & a ball
We always have to have a little talk about the bowling station. I wanted the students to have multiple tries (in case they didn't knock down any pins their first try..we have to keep those 2nd grade tears in mind) so we talked about how we have to add the amount of pins (10) for as many attempts they would have at the station. I usually let them have 2 attempts so we added 10+10 to get 20. We recorded 20 as the total attempts they would have even though they would only roll the ball twice. Their numerator would be the total number of pins knocked down during both tries. Students would have to add their two number together if they were successful both times in order to find their numerator.

That's it! Get those students up and moving while working with fractions in a different way. They will love you even more ๐Ÿ˜


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