Making Fractions Fun
I have discovered ways to make fractions fun to learn for my students, and fun ways for me to teach it to them. Using inexpensively made food-displays and edible props, promises your students an immediate grasp on fractions, because food is a relatable concept for children.
Pizza Pie Craft & Display Board
Draw two large, circular pizzas onto a white poster board, tracing around a large pizza pan (or circular serving platter). Draw two lines, intersecting at the mid-point (to form fourths) through both pizzas, and draw two more lines through only one of the pizzas (to form eighths).
Cut out both the pizza circles, saving all scraps, to make cut-out shapes of pepperoni, pineapple chunks, olives, sweet peppers, tomatoes, as well as mystery shapes. Your students will be coloring these shapes, to add onto their pizza slices.
Before cutting out along the lines representing pizza slices, draw a wavy red, sauce stripe; leaving an outer crust line/section, as well as the inner white (melted cheese) covering on both pizzas. The wavy red stripe is really the only decorating your pizza will need other than the topping shapes your students will be working on.
You can however, add sesame seed-dots all around both pizza crusts, and then finish cutting out both pizzas along their slicing-lines. You’ll end up with one 4-slice pizza, and one with 8 slices, to label accordingly.
Lessons Taught by Pizza Slices
Children should be given 5 to 10 pizza topping pieces each to decorate, and then add to their pizza slices. You can also draw both 4-slice and 8-slice pizzas onto another board for instructional display. This display board could be hung on the wall, or laid on table tops for students to line up their cut slices.
The pizza topping pieces need to be handed out, counted, and colored by your students. These toppings can act as whole numbers until the pizza arrives. Each pizza then becomes a whole number and the slices are part of the whole.
Divide your students into teams and work out fraction equivalents by the pizza slices. Work the toppings into the equations, and have students trade with one another. There are so many ways to bring fractions alive using a whole pizza for the common denominator, adding and subtracting the toppings and slices. For added impact, you can deliver (and store) your project in a clean pizza delivery box!
Fresh Orange Sections
Similarly fresh naval orange sections can determine the common denominator. Supply each child with a naval orange snack to peel first, and then lay out the slices. The number of slices will become the denominator.
As your students eat their healthy snacks have them write out their fractions; based upon the number of orange sections eaten and the sections left to go. Fractions will have much more useful meaning to your children as they observe, handle, smell, taste, and then write them down on paper.
Whatever you teach to your students’ senses will aide their retention skills, while increasing their ability to construct, and then solve mathematical equations more efficiently. They will be able to go directly to that part of the brain triggered, while teaching to their senses. Math scores will improve, and your students will look forward to learning even more fractions.