• best teaching practices
  • Making Half

    Finding Half Using Fraction Bars

    Before diving into equivalent fractions, I have found that letting students explore by building ½ with fraction bars helps build a foundation for equivalent fractions.


    After this simple hands on activity, students will understand
    – The denominator needs to be an EVEN number in order to take half
    – There are multiple combinations to make a half
    – All of these combinations have the same value (are equivalent)

    This activity will build a strong foundation of equivalent fractions.

    Making 1/2 with Computation

    If students have a solid foundation of making a half with fraction bars, this will be a very easy transition (and might I say a confidence booster)
    1) There’s a total of 36 pieces
    2) What is half? This is where long division can come into play if students don’t automatically know what half of 36 is.
    3) Half of 36 is 18
    4) Just to reiterate the concept of what a whole is 36/36 is one whole. If we take half of 36 pieces, there will be 18 pieces in each of the two sections.

    Simple enough?
    After a couple more whole group examples, we move onto partner activities/math stations!

    Activities to Practice

    Matching the fraction 1/2
    – Student task cards
    “I can make fractions equal to a half”
    Flip over one card at a time. Both partners will need to find the fraction that equals the half! The player that wins rock, paper, scissors needs to explain verbally why the fraction card is equal to a half. That player gets to claim the card!

    Sentence Stems:
    “……is equivalent to ½ because…..is the same amount.
    I know this because…..

    A ½ or Not a ½: That is the Question
    – Give students a big sheet and make a T-chart
    – Students work in pairs (or groups of 4 – two pairs) and sort their fraction cards
    – They need to ‘prove’ and ‘give evidence’ of their choice
    – Students will do a ‘gallery walk’ and ‘flag’ the ones that are incorrect on others’ posters
    – Come back and fix before final glue

    This is a part of our fraction series. Check out these other posts!
    – http://mustardseedteaching.com/fractions-introduction/
    – http://mustardseedteaching.com/pizza-fractions-unit-fractions/
    – http://mustardseedteaching.com/comparing-fractions-with-common-denominators-common-numerators/

     What are some things you teach students to understand 1/2?


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