Today was a "test" day in fourth grade--a test for me to see where my students are with fractions. I started by giving them an "entrance" slip that just asked them a few basics, and then asked them to respond to the following prompt in their math journals:
"Can a fraction ever have more than one name? Explain your thinking."
In my head, I needed the following activity to "take the temperature" of my class to see how they could apply some of the things we have explored--and to see what misconceptions have continued. I learned a lot about where to head next! Here's how Day 9 unfolded. . .
I divided the class into 3 groups (if I did it again, I would do 4 groups) and provided each group with a stack of fraction cards. I simply asked them to work with their team to put the fractions in order from largest to smallest. NO--we haven't worked on this yet. NO--we haven't worked with equivalent fractions yet (although many students have made some discoveries about both of these along the way).
As the students worked, I walked around and recorded interesting things that students said. A few students came up to ask clarifying questions, and--as they are now used to--I simply shrugged and suggested they check with their team. The students worked for TWENTY MINUTES and I heard some of the most interesting logic (LACK of logic!) and great discussions. . . and even heard some great teamwork with compliments, suggestions, and "Oh--THAT makes sense"-type comments.
|Debating what a fraction with the same numerator and denominator means...|
|A student trying to "prove'" her idea with a picture -- but her group didn't listen!|
This blog post and sequencing activity is now a part of my comprehensive fraction unit available by clicking the image below. Hundreds of teachers have now used it to change the way they teach fractions!