Sunday, August 19, 2012

Teaching Fractions

While growing up math was a struggle for me, especially division and fractions. Of course in public school, especially way back then, it was taught straight out of a text book. This didn't work for me. It just did not sink in that way. So for both division and fractions my mom would have to reteach me at home which took quite awhile I might add. It seems like it finally sank in when I was developmentally ready for it. Other things came easily for me but math did not.

So when I started teaching my own children fraction lessons I decided to try a different approach. I try to think in terms of kinesthetic learning. In this style of learning children learn while doing a physical activity rather than just reading or looking at an explanation in a book. Also it helps the learning process to present the material in different ways such as games and videos. This works well with children who have learning disabilities as well as typically developing children. Here is a list of activities and ideas that I have done with my two children over the years plus some activities I have found online.
  1. We took paper plates and markers and decorated them like pizzas. One "pizza" we would cut in half, another in 1/4's, and another in 1/8 th's. On the back of each piece it would say the answer. I would mix them up on the floor and as they took a piece out of the pile they would tell me without looking what fraction it was. If they were right they kept the piece and if they were wrong it went back in the pile. The one with the most pieces in the end won. 
  2. When it was snack time we would cut up fruit, usually apples or bananas, and talk about what fraction of the fruit each piece was.
  3. Here's a great teaching blog with lots of fraction activity ideas plus a fraction book that this teacher made with her class!
  4. Incorporating literature into math. Here are a list of fraction books.
5. Here's are some more activities using food. This isn't always an option for my son with Prader-willi     syndrome but I can see it working well for other children!

6. Measuring cups and traveling fractions are also ways to reinforce learning fractions.

7. I can't forget youtube as a way to incorporate some visual and audio into the learning. Here are some videos I found. 
Learning math should not be painful. If approached in a way that works for your child it can even be fun!

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