Teaching Fractions: Helpful Tips to Reach Your Students

teaching fractionsAll children learn in different ways, as you can read about in this article on Bloom’s learning domains. When teaching math, you could lose a few of your students if you don’t teach using different methods and styles. Try using some of these tips below to reach all of your students when teaching fractions. You can also try some of the activities listed below. Take a class using your iPad as a teaching tool.

Tips and Tricks for Reaching Your Students

It’s important that you know how to reach your students in every subject, but math can be the most confusing. Using the tips below, you should be able to reach your students no matter their learning style. Take a class in teaching with technology, and change how your students will learn math.

Use Pizza Models and Other Visual Aids

Most children learn visually, and even those that learn in other ways grasp concepts easier with visual aids. Get laminated pictures of pizzas or pies, and cut them into slices. Be sure to get extra copies for the different fractions.  Use them at the board as you write down the different fractions. Use them as models for addition and subtraction. You can even make smaller copies for the students to use.

Another great visual aid to use is folded paper. Take a square or rectangular sheet of paper, and fold it up into different fractions. You can have your students follow along using their own sheets of paper. Write down the fractions in each different portion. Show your students how each separate piece relates to the whole. Teach your students mental math tricks by brushing up on them yourself in an online class.

Explain Key Terms and Basic Concepts

Your students will grasp fractions easier if they know the key terms and basic concepts that go along with fractions. Give your students the words “numerator” and “denominator,” and define them for your students. Point out the numerator and denominator in fractions you write on the board or make with visual aids. Show them how the numerator and denominator come into play with basic concepts like adding and subtracting fractions. Don’t forget to use those visual models as a teaching tool.

Take Your Time

Although you have plenty of other concepts to cover in both math and other subjects, it’s important that you try not to rush your students’ learning along as much as you possibly can. Work through it slowly, and cover everything thoroughly. Make yourself available to students still having problems. You want your students to succeed, so give them every opportunity to do so. Learn to teach online with a course, and you can create extra help students can access both in and outside the classroom.

Project to Use When Teaching Fractions

Students learn best when motivated to do so, and fun projects are great motivators. All of these projects involve food rewards so be sure to check student allergies and get parental permission if necessary. Otherwise, you can do these same projects using paper stand-ins, but we all know the real thing is much more fun. Reach even your students that have learning disabilities with an online class.

Candy Fractions

This particular project will use divided candy bars, like Hershey’s, and M & M’s. Avoid the peanut M & M’s in case you have a child with allergies. Find a larger Hershey’s bar for you to use as a model at the front of the classroom, or use a printed picture that is cut into the candy pieces. Talk to the students about the whole candy bar and how it represents one candy bar. Have them cut it into two equal parts, and do the same with your model.

Talk to your students about how each of the two pieces makes one part of the whole. Write the fraction on the board, and model it with your candy bar. Show the fraction for each piece, and write the fraction for the two together making a whole. Repeat this until your candy bar has been divided into as many pieces as it has. Keep modeling along the way, and let your students eat the candy.

Have your M & M’s already divided into different bags for each child or for each group. Don’t divide them by color. Have the students divide them by color instead, and let them model the fraction for the color. For example, if the student has 25 M & M’s and has five red ones, the fraction would be 5/25. Again, allow your students to eat the candies.

Fraction Pie

Using pies or cakes of the same size, separate the class into groups, and give each group a pie or cake. Discuss the importance of being fair and making certain everyone gets an equal share of the dessert item. Make the groups have different numbers so that the cakes or pies have to be cut into different fraction pieces. Obviously, these pies or cakes will have to be cut again because one group will have an entire half of cake to eat. Model the fractions of each groups’ cake before letting your students dig in.

Pizza Fraction Party

This particular project is a great idea for an end-of-the-lesson party once your students have completed their fraction lessons. Purchase pizzas, and have the students show off their skills by saying how many slices they’d like to have in a fraction. Get different-sized pizzas, or cut them into different fraction forms to make it even more interesting. With different fraction forms available, students can say they want 1/4 of a personal-size cheese pizza or 3/8 of a larger pepperoni pizza.