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It is finally time for one of my favorite math units!! Fractions!!!

Last week we kicked off our unit with food. My boys love to eat, and if we get to have a snack while we learn I’m super mom…at least for a few minutes.

There are many food that are already divided into equal parts, and using these foods to introduce fractions allows children to begin making connections using their background knowledge.

I created a simple printable as a guide for us as we “played” with our food, and we enjoyed working through it and exploring the concept of fractions. On the day that we did not do it, I got lots of questions as to why. Have to follow the routine!!!! Anyway to start, we drew a picture of our whole.

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Next we simply worked through the sheet. Can this be divided into half’s using the dividers already provided? If yes, we would draw a picture of what 1/2 would look like.

Next we came up with equivalent fractions. For example, Kit Kats have two pieces when we drew the half. We discussed (and I showed them) that an equivalent fraction would be two fourths.

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With my kiddos being little, we didn’t go back and do the factions that could not be easily divided up. It is difficult to divide a graham cracker into thirds, but not impossible.  If you want to challenge your students, you could easily go back to this and see what they can come up with!!!

So what foods are perfect for fractions??

  1.   Graham Crackers

This snack is perfect for a large class, and is a quick way to introduce 1/2 and its equivalent form 2/4. Obviously 1/4 is also easily seen.

     2. Hershey Bars

This one is my favorite. Not only do they taste great, but there is an awesome book that will lead the activity for you. Unfortunately  I’m having a hard time providing a link for you to get it, unless you want to pay the ridiculous price of $50 on Amazon. You may want to check out your local library or a used book store to see if they have it. I guarantee it will be worth the search.

We did not use the printable for this. I just read the book, did what the book did with our Hershey bars, and wrote down the equivalent fractions. It was one of my kids favorite lessons when I was in public school, and it continued to provide lots of fun for my little boys. We were able to cover 1/2 and its equivalent 3/6. We also worked on 1/3, 1/4, and 1/6 and their equivalents.

                3. Oranges

Now oranges are not the perfect fraction food, but they still work pretty great and are healthy. If you decide to use oranges you will need to discuss that all the slices are not perfectly equal. They are pretty close, but you do find some slices that are very small. We just didn’t separate that slice and left it attached to a larger one.

Also, you may find that the oranges have different number of slices. Both of ours happened to have 9 slices, and gave us the chance to use the fractions 1/3 and 3/9. Unfortunately that was the only fraction we could make.

              4. Kit Kats

These are very similar to graham crackers, but show students a different arrangement for making 1/2 and 1/4.

              5. Packs of Crackers

I love these because it showed that sometimes a whole isn’t just one piece of food. A whole can be the total amount of any equal thing.

It is also a great introduction to problems such as what is 1/2 of 12. Many times these problems throw children because they only think of fractions in relations to a circle or square cut into pieces. When we are teaching fractions we need to provide many different samples, and packs of food are great places to start. A small bag of skittles, M & M, or a pack of crackers are just a few great examples!!

I like using the crackers because they all have the same amount in them, not a sweet food, and I knew we could hit the fractions 1/2, 1/3 and 1/6. They gave us a chance to explore equivalent fractions that the Kit Kats and graham crackers had left out!!!

After we “played” with our food, we would choose one fraction and do our Fraction of the Day printable. It was another way to review what we had covered, but also give them a chance to see the fraction on a number line. This will play an important part as we start playing games to reinforce equivalent fractions and the different way you can illustrate them. Check in later this week and into next for some of the fun games we are playing.

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