With the introduction of Common Core this year, many of our math standards have changed. My fourth grade students have spent weeks working with fractions. (Seriously – weeks. I’ve just come back from maternity leave and they are STILL working on fractions!) In order to augment the classroom instruction, my students did some iLesson work with equivalent fractions.
To begin with, we used several apps on the iPods to independently practice identifying equivalent fractions. McGraw Hill makes a great app called Equivalent Fractions. It is a paid app, though McGraw Hill is known to make its apps free a few times a year. The gameplay is a cross between a solitaire game and a matching game. Players match cards with images of equivalent fractions and draw from the pile when they can’t make a match. I like that the students had pictorial images to compare, especially as we were beginning instruction on equivalencies.
Another app we used was Squeebles Fractions. This one is a little bit more fun as it involves cake. Students have to feed the Squeebles pieces of cake based on fractions. The catch is that students have to know equivalent fractions to be able to divide the cake correctly. The app does a nice job of making student apply their knowledge to feed the Squeebles.
The students’ favorite activity however involved candy bars. I always use food as an example when talking about fractions. Who wouldn’t want 4/5 of a candy bar instead of 2/10? However, on my teacher salary, I can’t afford to buy the amount of candy I would have needed to let everyone cut candy bars into pieces. Instead we used our Ken-a-Vision Flexcam and the Educam app to split candy bars into equivalent fractions virtually.
After sending an image of three Snickers bars to the iPads, students were asked to choose a simple fraction, split the candy bar into the correct amount of pieces, and label the fraction. Students then had to figure out two equivalent fractions (open ended – students could find any equivalency they wanted), split the candy bar into pieces, color in the part they were going to eat, and label the fractions. Students uploaded their images to Dropbox and I used this as a performance assessment to show whether or not the kids could find equivalent fractions.
I also used this lesson with a group of students working on modified standards. We took the same idea, but used two Kit Kat bars. With this group, I required them to show me the math calculations they did to find the equivalent fractions. Using both the pen and typing tools in the app, students split, calculated, colored, and labeled their candy bars. I used this group’s uploaded images as an assessment as well.
I loved the engagement level of this assessment, and the mastery that kids were showing when they applied their knowledge. However, I’m sure that the students will tell you that the best part of the equivalent fractions was when I let them eat their math lesson.