Did you know we learn math in 3rd grade? You wouldn't know from reading my blog! I get so excited about our humanities activities that I forget to share all the fun we have in math!
This week we began exploring fractions. We started at the most basic level - identifying and conceptualizing fractional parts. Yesterday the students folded equal-sized paper strips into various amounts (halves, thirds, sixths, etc) and labeled the parts (1/2, 1/3, 1/6). The big idea here was that no matter how we split up each strip, the total amount, or whole, was the same. They also discovered how many of each part it took to make a whole. For example, it takes 3 thirds to make a whole.
Today, partners got together to answer some questions about fractions using the work we made yesterday. Some questions were pretty straightforward, while others really made them think. The video below shows the students working through the problems.
After attempting to answer the questions, we came together as a class to discuss. Our conversation moved to noticing that some lines on the various strips matched up. For example, the 1/2 line matches up exactly with the 2nd 1/4th line. So 1/2 is equal to 2/4 as long as we are talking about the same whole! This discussion of equivalencies became very rich, as the students noticed a few other fractions that lined up with 1/2. A couple of students even noticed patterns! For example, looking at the equation 1/2 = 3/6, one student noticed that if you multiply the numerator and the denominator by 3, you get the second fraction. So we tried applying that strategy to our other equivalencies and guess what, it worked!
Tonight's homework reinforces their budding understanding of equivalent fractions. As we move deeper into this unit, I will be sure to catch you up on what we discover!
Little people, big minds.