What were your thoughts about fractions when you were a kid? Were you the “I’m scared of fractions, and can’t wait for the fractions lessons to be done” kid or were you the “These fractions lessons are fun, and I like the math puzzles” kid?

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I have to admit I became more of the latter, while I was not so happy about it at first. Saxon Math introduces fractions in 3rd grade, but it is in slow drips and drops, and my kids were just not getting the concepts they were showing.

Enter Rainbow Fraction Circles {affiliate link, I think mine were about $5 at Mardel, so check prices}. I knew they needed a bit more of a hands on touch, and the cutting up squares and rectangles lesson from earlier (which I apparently deleted the pictures of, oops), did not penetrate their brains.

My drawing it out on the board worked briefly, but it wasn’t translating to different shapes. I don’t know why, or the combining of different fractions.

So we played with them, figuring out what fractions went together and how. What fractions will equal 1/2? How many can I stuff onto that circle?

From the concrete model we progressed to writing what they’d built. They especially enjoyed this part because they were using the dry erase boards.

And suddenly the math that had been horribly boring and they hated to do it was fun. Grins were abounding and kids were happily back to creating math problems. I call that a win.

Now this lesson was one we did a few months ago, hence all the short sleeves because the middle of October was quite warm. Now it’s freezing cold, and we’ve got a fire going, but I’m writing this to remind myself to take time to make it hands on. These past two months have been so busy that I haven’t been doing that with many of the concepts, and I can tell it’s not sinking in. I have tactile learners, and I need to bring in that element if I want them to remember.

So, today I’m printing off a bunch of graph paper so I can show them multiplication and division in a hands on way. Now to hunt down some graph paper….

Christy says

The fraction circles are neat. Our school starts fractions in first grade.

I was not a fan of fractions as a kid.

Stay warm!

Natalie says

We are all “math is easy, and let’s move on to something more challenging” kind. Unfortunately, school seems to be stuck on “let’s slow down and make sure EVERYONE gets it” cycle, which kills enthusiasm big time. Smarty always draws fraction for herself when she is working out a fraction problem. I don’t recall doing it, but I am a text person, not a picture person.

maryanne @ mama smiles says

I love this way of teaching fractions! I’m definitely a more visual/tactile learner. I remember sometimes liking fractions and sometimes dreading them…

Andrea @ No Doubt Learning says

I always learned with fraction strips – I love the circle idea and they’d be easy to make too 🙂