Today I have a little freebie for the older kiddos. This is a simple dice game for practicing adding fractions with like denominators and writing fractions greater than one as mixed numbers.
Now, hopefully you recognize that this game is very abstract. It is not a good game for introducing the concept of writing fractions greater than one to mixed numbers. It is a great game for practicing the concept once the kiddos understand it.
So how do you introduce this concept at the concrete and representational stages? Well for concrete learning, fraction tiles are a great tool. You could make your own out of fraction strips, if you don’t have the tiles. To model fractions greater than one, you will need more than one set of tiles. Does that make sense? A tile kit will only have 4 fourths, so to model 6/4 you’ll need to combine sets. It’s important that when they use the tiles to model the fraction, they make groups based on the denominator. For example, to model 6/4 it would look like the drawn model in the next step, but you’d be using the tiles instead.
If you’ve read my posts about fractions before, you know it’s all about candy bars. In explaining fractions greater than one, we use a candy bar that is scored to easily break apart, like a Hershey milk chocolate bar. If I ate 6/4, it means each candy bar had 4 pieces, and I ate 6 pieces. So I ate more than a whole candy bar. That’s an essential understanding–anytime the numerator is bigger than the denominator, I ate more than a whole candy bar.
The next step is having kiddos draw models of fractions greater than one. Again, if they are thinking in terms of candy bars, it is oh so easy. For 6/4, their model would look like the one below. They know that each candy bar has 4 parts, so they draw the first candy bar. They shade all 4 pieces in that candy bar, because they ate them all. They know they kept eating, so they draw another candy bar. They shade 2 of those pieces, because now the model shows they ate 6 pieces. They can easily look at the model and see that they ate 1 2/4 or 1 1/2 candy bars. Magic!