Equivalent Fractions With Pattern Blocks

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Our fun with fractions is continuing this week. My boys are young (4 and 6), so my only goal for them is to understand that a fraction is equal parts, and that the numerator tells them how many parts or groups they have or in some cases don’t have. Though that is what I want for them to master, I am exposing them to other aspects. We are definitely working on what an equivalent fraction is, and how to find equivalent fractions on models (maybe next year we will discuss the algorithm!!) We have even done some adding and subtracting using our pattern blocks. This activity will be coming soon!!!

Today we pulled out our pattern blocks and completed the task cards.

If you have not worked with pattern blocks before you may want to do a short introduction with them. Simply pull out the hexagons, and have the children fill it up with trapezoids. Ask how many trapezoids were used, and what is the fraction for one trapezoid. This should lead itself into the awesome conversation about equal parts, ect!!! I would then have them place triangles on top of the trapezoids. You can then discuss what one triangle equals and what three triangles equal. Hopefully your students will see that three triangles equal one trapezoid so therefore 3/6 is equal to 1/2.You can then do the same with the rhombuses or rhombi. (Did you know that both are the correct plural form of rhombus?)

Once that background knowledge is laid for them, they are ready for the task cards. There are three different wholes in the sample pack, and five in the complete pack. You will find that the students are finding equivalent fractions for halves, thirds, fourths, and sixths numerous times but in various ways. I feel like this is important because students need to realize that 1/2 is always equal to 2/4 or 3/6  no matter the size of the equal parts.

There were a couple of things that stumped the boys, and gave us a chance to focus again on a fraction being equal parts and that the denominator tells us how many equal parts it takes to make a whole.

C was working on this task card, and had followed the directions. He had covered up 2/3, and knew that the numerator was 6. He was struggling figuring out the denominator though. We went back over that the denominator is how many equal parts it takes to make a whole. He ended up filling the third rhombus with triangles and then was able to tell me that he had 4 out of the 6 triangles, so 2/3 and 4/6 are equivalent.

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N was struggling with this one. I had to ask question to help him realize he needed to have four equal groups. He divided the triangles up into four equal groups, and was then was able to tell me that 3/4 was equal to 6/8.



As a last minute tip, I highly suggest doing these in small groups where you can monitor. If you are working with higher grades I can possibly see doing this as a whole group with you walking around constantly checking and making note of those who will need to be pulled later for a small group. If you feel that any child is struggling with the concept of fractions, I would do this with them next to you. These task cards will quickly bring to light any misconceptions, and I no one wants to miss opportunities to see the misconception and work through it.

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Get ALL 20 task cards plus a challenge HERE.

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