Saturday, January 26, 2019

Prepping for the Fraction Unit

This is an example from the project introduction
Students have moved from learning about the base-ten numeral system to use of the math operations with whole numbers and decimals and now to fractions. I've been thinking about how to best introduce this unit and create engagement and good learning too.

A couple of weeks ago prior to a systemwide assessment I reviewed all the fraction operations with students during a sketch notes lesson. I told stories and we all drew and labeled related models.

So as I thought about this introduction and the successful Boaler-like floor-to-ceiling volume exploration students engaged in just before the December break, I decided to start the unit with a floor-to-ceiling fraction story project.

I will review what whole numbers, decimals, and fractions are, and then I'll model a fraction story that includes all four operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I'll ask students how I could have made my story better, better in terms of the math and better in terms of the story illustrations and flow.

Then I'll let students work on their own or with others using computers, paper, objects such as legos, string, and recyclables, and/or drawing to craft their story.

Why do I think this will be a successful introduction to the unit?

First, this exploration will give me a good look at children's knowledge and problem solving abilities.

Next, it will introduce students to Google draw and images which are great vehicles for math model making.

After that it will force students to think about how the four fraction operations are similar and different--it will involve them in making models that demonstrate the meaning behind those operations as they connect to fractions.

And, this project will review standard measurements that children need to know, measurements such as gallons, meters, dozens, yards, and more.

I have a very creative, imaginative, and collaborative group of fifth grade students. I can't wait to see what they come up with. I'm sure I'll track this project on my blog in the days to come. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.