Teaching Equivalence in Fractions with Unlike Denominators to 4th Graders

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Once students get to the fourth grade, learning equivalence in fractions with unlike denominators is something that they can look forward to...or not look forward to. It can be a very tough lesson and something that is hard for the children to understand. They need to have a simple understanding of fractions already. They need to know what they are and how they add up together. Meaning that they need to understand that fractions are a part of a whole...a fraction of something, and that if the fractions are equal they can add up to create a whole. The easiest way to describe this and review it is with a circle representing a pie. Each slice comes from the pie and all put together its a whole. Also the stronger the students is with their…show more content…
Next the teacher would show them an unequivalent fraction by having them compare 1/2 and 1/3 in their circle. They look close...but they arent! From here a worksheet would be given out with some fractions for the children to identify their equal. They would work in partner groups and use their pie pieces to research and experiment and find the answer. This will give the students a good chance to work together and investigate with hands on pieces and think through the questions.

All of the previous work the students have done with the manipulatives and the visual aids should have given them a good foundation for writing fractions and seeing how they are represented with numbers and not just physical parts or fractions of a whole. There is a pattern between equivalent fractions that is based on counting by multiples. It can also be explained on knowing and using basic multiplication tables. To find an equivalent fraction is basic multiplication of both the numerator and the denominator by a number that is more than one or zero. Two is a very good base, low number to start with. Next is to explain to the students that with equivalent fraction problems you are looking for that missing number, that missing part that makes it complete.

For example, 2/5 is equal to 4/?

The teacher explains that in order to solve for the missing, you will have to determine 3 times (what) equals 6. Or divide 3 into 6. From

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