Category Archives: Fractions

3-Act Task: A 5th-grade lesson captured

A while back I shared a kindergarten lesson and I was really happy with the way it turned out.  The 5th-grade lesson below, not so much.  The students did great but there are definitely some things I need to improve. We recently finished up … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, 6-8, Estimation, Fractions, Intellectual Need, Math Progressions, Modeling, Teacher Content | 11 Comments

I’ll Rip Your Face Off: The Art of Defacing Manipulatives

It’s our fault. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We unknowing pigeonhole student thinking with the manipulatives we use. Take fraction tiles for example. Much to my disappointment, they come with labels and it kills me. Manipulatives that … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 6-8, Against the Norm, Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Making Sense Series, Math Progressions, Math Tools, Strategy Development, Teacher Content | 24 Comments

Making Sense of Invert and Multiply

As elementary teachers, we rarely have the opportunity to explore division of a fraction by a fraction.  When we do, it’s normally accompanied with Keep-Change-Flip or the saying “Yours is not the reason why, just invert and multiply.” Both are conceptual … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, 6-8, Against the Norm, Fractions, Making Sense Series, Math Progressions, Number Sense, Planning, Strategy Development | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A number line, number string, and Number Talk walk into a class…

As teachers and students ramp up for testing I was invited to visit a 5th grade class and asked to focus on fractions.  Before the lesson, the teacher and I discussed the importance of a number line, which was an extension of … Continue reading

Posted in 3-5, Estimation, Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Number Sense, SMPs, Strategy Development | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Difficult Tasks Allow Misconceptions to Shine

Last week I was reminded why I love being a teacher. I’m currently throwing down a PL gauntlet in my district for all our elementary and middle school teachers. For each grade level I’ve focused on 1 or 2 of the big … Continue reading

Posted in Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Strategy Development, Teacher Content, Who Knows? | 2 Comments

More than one way to skin a task!

I tried “the Big Pad” with a 4th grade class and my anticipation of possible solutions was way off!!!  I mean, c’mon Graham, think outside the box. Our students attacked this problem in more ways than a charter bus filled with senior citizens attacks an … Continue reading

Posted in Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, SMPs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Manipulative Trap

I’ve spent the past month visiting classrooms, reading blogs, attending workshops, sitting in grade level meetings and I’ve noticed a common theme which is concerning.  Before I continue I want to acknowledge that the use, and proposed use, of manipulatives is rampant and … Continue reading

Posted in Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Teacher Content | 10 Comments

Dividing Fractions Using Repeated Subtraction

I was talking with a group of 5th grade students today… Me: You know that next year you’ll need to be able to divide a fraction by a fraction and not just a fraction by a whole number? (MCC6.NS.1) Student: … Continue reading

Posted in Fractions, Word Problems | 3 Comments