Fun with Fractions

2HM enjoyed a Maths lesson with a difference this week when Miss Murphy asked everyone to design a bookmark. I know what you’re thinking…bookmarks don’t have anything to do with Maths! But this was a very special bookmark…a fraction bookmark!

Fractions are revisited regularly within the Mathematics curriculum at Eversfield. Not so long ago in this blog, I told you about Form 4’s adventures with equivalent fractions. Already in this academic year, children in Form 2 have worked on identifying halves and quarters of shapes and numbers, so at the start of the lesson Miss Murphy was keen to know what they remembered from their previous learning. Luella was keen to demonstrate that she could recognise three quarters of a shape. Sophie explained that four quarters is the same as four pieces of a shape or thing. These pieces must be equal, of course, in order to be quarters. Henry, meanwhile, told Mrs Beattie that one quarter is half of a half. Lots of great ideas already – Miss Murphy was impressed!

So impressed in fact that she set up a fraction matching game for the children. Each person had a card showing either a numerical fraction or a fraction diagram. A fun and frenzied five seconds followed during which the pupils were expected to find their fraction match and sit down beside them. Charles had eight sixteenths of his fraction diagram shaded in, so his partner was Molly. The children were encouraged to see that this fraction is the same as a half, the only difference being that the whole has been divided into more parts.

The discussion then moved on to fraction terminology. There are a couple of challenging fraction words everybody needs to know – numerator and denominator. I’ve always found it better to start by talking about the denominator, the bottom part of the fraction, because this number tells you into how many equal parts your shape or object has been divided. The top part of the fraction, the numerator, indicates how many equal parts of the whole you need to shade or to think about.

Next, Miss Murphy sought to extend the children’s understanding of numerators and denominators by asking them to create and describe fractions. This took the form of a bookmark designing competition. Each child was given a set of four bookmarks to colour. The colours chosen had to represent a specified fraction. Miss Murphy wanted to see whether the children had grasped that the number of squares on the bookmark equated to the denominator of the fraction. For instance, Ranbir’s bookmark had twenty four squares, and he realised that if he coloured twelve purple squares and twelve pink squares, he could show her that he had found half of the whole. To add spice to the challenge, Miss Murphy announced that this was a competition and the best design would be chosen by a class vote.

Thanks to the children’s very precise shading, the bookmarks were soon looking amazing. Miss Murphy was delighted with everyone’s hard work and enthusiasm. In the end, the bookmarks were so good it was impossible to find a winner, so Mr Solly was called upon to arbitrate. After much deliberation, he chose Molly.

The lesson ended with a game of fraction bingo to consolidate the children’s recognition of fractions. The pupils played table teams of four and, as you can see from the pictures, the game was very close and tense. I can’t believe how excited the winners look! No doubt 2HM will been keen to keep learning about fractions if lessons turn out to be so much fun!