He was sitting there, brow furrowed, and pencil tapping. We had been working on fractions for a few weeks, and I was sure he was going to be able to correctly fill the number line in. Finally, after patiently or impatiently, tongue biting waiting, he started to scribble in his answers. 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6….and on and one he wrote. My heart sank. He didn’t have a clue about fractions. He didn’t have the basic understanding that the denominator tells us how many equal parts it takes to make a whole. We needed to go back to square one, and start building fraction knowledge.
Many children, even in upper elementary, have little or no understanding of fractions. They need to have repeated exposure to the basics every day. Last time we met, we talked about giving the calendar a try in upper grades for a month. This calendar time is a great time to practice fraction basics, and I decided to throw in one more freebie to help you get started.
I wish I could tell you exactly where this idea has come from, but I’ve seen similar printables like this when I was teaching. I tweaked it a little to make it my own and to address issues that my students normally struggle with.
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How to Get Started
To get started, print off enough of the FREE printables for your students and place them in sheet protectors. When I was teaching we had this really cool machine that blew up the printable. You could hang it on a bulletin board and write on it while you reviewed the sheet with your students. If you are not fortunate enough to have one of those, you can draw the printable on a poster and laminate it. Other options would be to use it on your smart board, or even on an overhead projector.
What Grades will Benefit the Most From It?
The sheet is very open-ended and can be used for third, fourth, and fifth-grade students. It can be tailored to exactly what you are learning with fractions, and it builds number sense in regards to fractions.
How To Use Daily Fraction Printable
- Each morning, write a fraction in the middle circle.
- On the left side add something you want the children to use when they write the equation. It could be as simple as use addition, or you could put in a fraction. For example, if your fraction of the day is 1/2 you could tell your students that one equation must have 1/8. Think about the understanding of fractions that would be needed to do that. (As a side note, when you go over the sheet each day, encourage students to not only share their equations but explain how they figured it out. There is a wealth of knowledge you can gain by hearing their thinking. It also may help struggling ones to hear their classmates think aloud.)
On this day I required the students to have an equation with subtraction that equaled 2 3/4. This student drew a model from our multiplication unit that was more than 2 3/4, colored in 2 3/4, and then was able to solve the problem.
3. On the right side, create a problem to solve that has the fraction of the day in it. This can be as simple as 1/2 +1/2, or as complicated as 1 2/3 x 1/2.
4.The top and the bottom sections, require no prep from you. The students will get into the daily routine of writing two equivalent fractions, and drawing a model. (You can get more activities for equivalent fractions here or ideas on how to introduce fractions with visual models here)
5. Lastly, they will place their fraction on the number line. I would require that the fraction of the day not be the starting point. This requires the students to show fractions that come before and after. It also reinforces that the denominator is the number of equal parts that make up the whole. You should see this on their number line. If the fraction of the day is 3/4 then your students should be able to label the number line with 1/4, 2/4 or 1/2, 3/4 and then 1. I would not allow 4/4 as I want my little ones to demonstrate the understanding that 4/4 is one whole!
I’ve seen precious little ones (or sometimes they are bigger than me) write things like 1/2, 1/3, and then 1/4 on the number line. This is a red flag to me that we need to do some major backtracking. There is something about fractions that this student does not understand, and our job is to figure it out.
If your students are getting it, add a challenge. Have the fraction of the day be 1/8 and do not allow them to start with it. See what they come up with. A negative number, 1/16, or another unique strategy that shows some creative thinking.
Fractions can be difficult, but with this type of repeated exposure found in this daily fraction printable, you will be surprised at the growth of knowledge in your kiddos. I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you.
You’ve Got This
Need some extra work on fractions? Check out these resources.
Find 100 Activities for Fractions: It includes adding, subtracting, comparing, multiplying, and dividing.
Click HERE for your freebie!