SAVY 2019: Session 4, Day 3 – Fractions at Work (Rising 3rd/4th)
The week is flying by! We worked really hard adding fractions. Some students are comfortable with finding the least common denominator and converting fractions. On thing that I tried to do was push students to move beyond the formula for adding fractions and use reasoning skills. We looked at a group of fractions and thought about if they were added together would the sum be less than, equal to, or greater than 1. Reasoning an approximate answer is a great tool in many situations, and these reasoning skills often show up in many ways including as SAT questions.
We looked at some fractions and tried to come up with ways to make that fraction adding other fractions together. For example, students added 2/8 + ¼ = ½. They enjoyed coming up with many different ways to make each fraction. We talked about how there are infinite possibilities for this! I challenged them to think about adding fractions with different denominators and using 3 or 4 addends in their equations. Since so many students have strong computation skills, they loved coming up with numbers like 32/128 + 4/16 = ½. Many of them loved exploring patterns with powers of 2 and 3. Sometimes, I encouraged them to switch from using a pattern and gave them some different guidelines to help extend their thinking. For example, challenging students to use thirds, sixths, ninths, fifths, etc. helped them think of even more ways to make different fractions.
It is so great to have time to explore numbers because we have the time and opportunity to talk about math concepts, look for patterns, and explain our thinking. Some students have trouble explaining their thinking because the answer comes to them so quickly. We will continue to work on our verbal and written communication strategies by trying to use specific language.
In the afternoon, we tried our popsicles. Unfortunately, they were not frozen enough. We will try one more batch tomorrow afternoon!