Fraction Teaching Aids – A Guide to Making Fractions Fun!
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I firmly believe that the more math is made relevant and real, the more a child will come to understand it, be curious about it, and often, even come to love it.
Fractions, is one of the first ‘abstract’ (for want of a better word) math terms that a child learns and often when the fear of math sets in. So how do you incorporate different fraction teaching aids into daily activities, make them relevant and even fun for children, in a way that they realize that fractions are everywhere and not just on a worksheet as fraction wheels.
Fraction Teaching Aids
Math talk during play and activities gives your child many opportunities to understand math concepts through play, which will make them feel comfortable and confident when they come to study math in school.
F for Fractions, F for Food
While pizza and cake are popular ‘fraction foods’ and make for many number stories, you can use even more everyday ‘healthy’ foods to teach fractions.
Sandwiches, for example. Make them into equal parts (eg: some chutney ones into halves, some jam ones into fourths and a few with cheese into eighths) and use them to explain fractions.
- You can get them to sort it size wise (smallest to largest). This way they can see and understand why even though 4 is more than 3, ¼ is smaller than 1/3.
- Write assorted fractions on different pieces of paper (DIY task cards!) and ask them to put that fraction of a sandwich in their plate.
Closer home, rotis or parathas is another great food item to work some fractions during a meal. Tear out equal pieces of the roti and ask them to “eat 2/8 of them with dal”, 1/8 of them with pickle or yoghurt and “5/8 with the vegetable”.
Baking is another great activity to reinforce fractions. Most cake or baking recipes have measurements in fractions and it’s a great way for children to actually see what that amount loos like be it 1/3 cup milk or ½ tbsp baking soda.
Another fantastic and easy idea to teach fractions is using your family to establish the concept of fractions. Asking your child to find out what fraction of family members like peas? What fraction of family members wear spectacles? What fraction of family members love the color pink?
You can do it when extended family or friends comes over too. The children will notice how the fractions change even if the question is the same. To add to the fun, get the children to come up with their own questions.
The wonderful thing about math talk is we as parents needn’t take out any extra, specific time to do so. Math talk works fabulously well around the house, even as you finish chores.
When tidying up their toys, ask questions like, “What fraction of toys have wheels? What fraction of toys are red?
When folding clothes or putting them for a wash, discuss “What fractions of clothes are t-shirts? What fractions of clothes are bottoms (pants, skirts, jeans)? Ask them to pass you 1/3 of a clothes pile and discuss how you would do that.
There is nothing almost as powerful as play to reinforce math concepts. Fractions is no different.
Magna tiles is a good play tool to learn fractions. Get your child to make different shapes using colour tiles that you decide. Eg: Make a rectangle with 1/3 red and 2/3 blue. Or make a 16-tile square with 7/16 yellow tiles, 3/16 blue tiles and 2/16 red and 4/16 green tiles.
Half a Doodle from The Pretty Geeky stable of games is another super fun non-screen way to practice fractions. Using drawing and colouring and inspired by Pictionary, this game helps children see fractions everywhere! Not mention boosting family bonds and numerous life skills like team work, out-of-the-box thinking and more.