## Thursday, March 7, 2013

### Fraction Frenzy!

This week, 4th graders started their unit on FRACTIONS!!!!! (cue in the scary-themed music...). Incoming of 4.NF.1.2.3.4.5.6.7!!!
The students were in a bit of a frenzy but slooooowly but surely they are taking great strides with fractions.  I have to start off by giving a HUGE SHOUTOUT and THANK YOU to the Fourth Grade Studio for some Fantabulous Fraction ideas (gotta love alliteration right before testing!).  I was able to take a lot of ideas from this blog but as great teachers know, you follow the lead of the students!  They have been so into fractions and asking such great questions and reaaaaallllyyyy thinking (favorite), that even I am enjoying Math first thing in the morning.

We first started by making posters to demonstrate fractions in: halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, and tenths.  The Common Core "limits" 4th graders to fractions with denominators of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 100.  But I was not about to have them folding squares into 100 equal parts - not yet anyway.  Here are a few snapshots of our week!!

*side note* very new at blogging and can't figure out how to add another picture of our posters.  But there was a lot more than just this fourths poster! I will try to add those in tomorrow.

The following day I got another great challenge to use with my students over at The Fourth Grade Studio.  It had my students in a real frenzy.  I started by showing them this shape (courtesy of FGS!) and asking them, "Is this shape divided into fourths?"  Check out our initial graph:

I know it's not too clear but on the left side is the "yes" it is in fourths (4 students) and the rest of the class said no.  So of course, I gave them their own copy and had them "play" with the shape [seriously, use the word play with anything and suddenly their ears perk up] and reaaaaaally think about their thinking.  We followed with a class discussion and I heard what I guess I expected to hear (which I expected to follow with me having to give them the answer....).  "There are two squares and two triangles! They CANT be in fourths!" and "Grab a big ruler, Mrs. B! Let's measure this thing!" and then a few faces that said it all without saying anything at all: "What is going on in here?"
THEN....one of my dears...the new student this year...the one that sits in the back...you know, the one that you have to ask her to YELL so you can hear her and she's still at "inside voice"....well, that dear raised her hand. "Yes, N.  Tell me your explanation!"
"Well.  I think it is in fourths."
"Remember, N.  We need to explain our thinking.  Tell me why you are on the 'yes' side."
"Yesterday when we did our posters, we noticed that the fourths poster was all half of the half shapes.  If you look at the square, it is in half down the middle.  and then each half side....is in half."

**THE ROOM FELL SILENT WITH THINKING.  THINKING WAS HAPPENING. AND MRS. B WAS LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF LEARNING.**

Suddenly:

Notice all the checks in the "YES" boxes?  Notice how they weren't there BEFORE. (yea, scroll up and check it out).  Check out all the Xes through the "NO" boxes.  Now there were only 3 left that still weren't convinced.  And it became the rest of the class' mission to get them to their side.  It. was. amazing.

Tomorrow I am giving them some divided rectangles and asking them to label each fraction of it. Then I'm giving them blank rectangles with directions to divide in half...then find of the half...then a fourth...and so on.  I hope it goes well.  I will post up the rectangles ASAP (as soon as I find how to upload a GoogleDoc!) for your free use.
I'm really excited!! I love when the students are so excited and struggling with challenge because that AHA moment is my favorite part of teaching.  I've had many "AHA!!!!" moments this week - amazing!!

~Jul