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Teaching Fractions to Key Stage 1 - what is the best way?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by jackgillbert, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Dear Forum,
    During my teaching of fractions, I will openly admit that I have struggled to get the concept of fractions across to my Year 1 class. I am an NQT and would like to know what methods you use to teach fractions? It doesn't matter if your a Year 6 teacher or Year 1, I would be greatful if anyone can help me improve my teaching in this area. I have seen a good clip on Teachers' TV using cups, but I still think that chn would struggle to grasp the concept. Another popular one is the cake, cutting into fractions etc.
    Many thanks,
  2. Year 1s only need to know 1/2 and 1/4, and from my experience pick it up quickly as they generally already know the term 'half'. Halving/Quartering shapes is easier than number so start with that. Drawing round shapes and colouring in half etc. Refer to the fact that the bottom number is the amount of bits,and the top is how many of them to colour so that when you bring in 1/4 they see that it is split into 4 parts.
    3/4 and moving onto different fractions and equivalent fractions is top end Y2/Y3 stuff so you shouldnt be worrying about anything beyond 1/2 and 1/4
    Is there anything specifically your struggling with? If theyre really not getting it they're probably not ready for it yet, as its normally quite an easy thing to pick up I find.
  3. Make sure you use a variety of images, please don't just use pizzas! The number of children who think you can only halve and quarter circles doesn't bear thinking about[​IMG]
  4. For most children it is good to look at different ways of finding half of a shape. Having several paper squares and telling them to see how many different ways they can show half (I would give them several squares so each square only has 1 clear fold line). Then when you get to quarters they can explore different ways of making 4 equal parts so not just a cross (all look like windows!).
    And as already mentioned, remember to use a variety of shapes.
    Hope this is useful.
  5. Food
    pizza's, apples etc.
    my class learn best when they can eat the maths!
  6. Many thanks for your replies. What other images and shapes can I use to explan this?
  7. hsouth

    hsouth New commenter

    last week we made sandwiches and had to 1/2 and 1/4 etc. then we moved onto desiging the ultilmate sandwhich where 1/4 was 1 filling and 3/4 another etc I was amazed at how kids came up with idea that their mum 1/4 their sandwiches and so could easily make 1 square different and them more able came up with idea of making 1/4 of each half of a sandwich different. Obviously kids loved eating them. Tried cutting a variety of shapes fom bread like triangles, hearts, diamonds and diamonds. This was good but ducks had to eat lots of spare bits this week!!!
  8. I just taught a first lesson of fractions to a year 2 class and I used 2 large table cloths. The children sat around a large square area and I asked 2 children at a time to fold a rectangular cloth in half that was laid on the ground. They folded very carefully and with questioning they told everyone that the parts were equal and folded in 2 parts. I also asked 2 other children to fold a round cloth in half. The same cloths were then folded into 1/4s.
    The children really enjoyed this lesson and the demonstration was done by the children and all pupils could see.
    Hope this is helpful!
  9. Andrew Jeffrey

    Andrew Jeffrey New commenter

    I like the cloth idea! I also recommend folding bead-strings in half as this allows them to start to see that numbers can be halved, not just areas.This can also be done by sorting pegs into two equal piles of course. It is also a good idea to encourage them to count up in halves, even at this age, so they see fractions as nouns rather than simply adjectives.
    This can stave off big misunderstandings later on.
  10. inq


    Y1 halving - breaking multi-link towers into 2 equal, smaller towers. Giving out sweets/ multi link/ counters one for you- one for you.
    I started by talking about halving by cutting a cake in half but not fairly - I was meant to be sharing with my TA - we argued over who got the 'big half' - children were quick to say the pieces should be the same size, we wrote 1/2 and looked at how we had 2 pieces of cake that were the same size and we had 1 each.
  11. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    Wow! You could even link it to moral tales like the Aesop's fable on the lion's share...
  12. Hi

    I am on placement with Year 2 and am due my first observation on fractions. Would you happen to have access stil to the cloth fration lesson that you did last year and or would you be happy to send me an example of another lesson on this subject.

    Many Thanks in advance Jane

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