• 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?


  • building conceptual understanding
  • Comparing Fractions with Common Denominators & Common Numerators

    If students understand what a fraction is and have a good understanding of comparing unit fractions, comparing fractions with a common denominator and numerator will be a confidence booster! Check out these previous posts: Fractions Introduction Unit Fractions Like I’ve said in my previous post, first, I get students to practice by using fraction bars […]

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  • resources
  • Hedbanz Game

    I love the recent hit activity Hedbanz. It is an activity that has been around for a while but it is now finding its way around the classrooms. This activity lends itself for great math conversations and engagement, for whichever concept that is being taught. For the concept of writing and solving equations with an […]

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  • for fun
  • Quick & Easy Halloween Activity

    Halloween is right around the corner! When things like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, etc. come around, does anyone else get in a frenzy? The schedule is all crazy with school wide events, students are super jittery, and no one seems to be able to concentrate (us teachers included). Some teachers keep teaching like any other normal day, other […]

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  • resources
  • Can Fun Mean Failure? – Part Two

    Part 2: Using Pokemon We made focusing on certain skills regarding place value. These activities are essentially the same thing with minor differences and you can choose to use these cards in any way. We guarantee students will be wanting to play this game because of Pokemon’s popularity but we also want to make sure to include a […]

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