Grades: 3‒4

Students explore fractions as parts of a whole by using a tool that makes it easy to construct a precise area model of any fraction whatsoever with just several clicks of the mouse. Students construct fractions of their own choosing, observing how they compare to 1. They compare the given number of parts (the numerator) to the number of these parts in one whole (the denominator) to classify fractions as less than 1, equal to 1, or greater than 1.

Note: This activity is available in two versions—an area model that represents fractions as parts of a circle and an area model that represents fractions as parts of a rectangle.

OBJECTIVES

- Students will use an area model of fractions to explore part-whole relationships.
- Students will describe what the numerator and the denominator represent in a fraction.
- Students will understand the relationship between the pictorial representation of a fraction and its symbolic form.
- Students will compare fractions to 1 and classify them as less than 1, equal to 1, or greater than 1.
- Students will recognize that in fractions less than 1, the numerator is always less than the denominator.
- Students will recognize that 1 can be represented by many different fractions, but in all cases, the numerator is equal to the denominator.
- Students will recognize that in fractions greater than 1, the numerator is always greater than the denominator.

COMMON CORE CONNECTIONS

Mathematical Practices

(1) Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them; (2) Reason abstractly and quantitatively; (3) Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others; (5) Use appropriate tools strategically; (7) Look for and make use of structure.

Content Standards

3.NF1; 3.NF3d

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