I’ve been working on activities for a beginning of the year math workshop launching unit that incorporate graphing skills, since that’s what our district curriculum calls for. I’m a firm believer that graphing can’t be covered as a stand-alone “unit”. That is, you can’t do graphing for 10 days in September and say you’ve covered it. Graphing skills should be incorporated into instruction throughout the year. I’ve already completed a Roll and Graph number recognition activity for Kindergarten and a Shake and Spill decomposing activity for 1st and 2nd grade. Yesterday, I finished a graphing activity that combines fraction benchmarks with graphing for 4th and 5th grade. Students roll number cubes and use the digits to make a fraction. There are two versions of the activity–one that limits the fractions to proper fractions and another that includes fractions greater than one whole. After creating the fraction, students determine what category the fraction falls into, record their fraction on a tally sheet, and graph the fraction. The categories are the benchmarks of less than 1/2, exactly 1/2, more than 1/2, exactly one whole, and more than one whole.
The four Think, Talk, and Write cards included with the activity bring the Standard for Mathematical Practice into the equation as students justify their thinking both verbally and in writing.
Fractions are an extremely abstract of often misunderstood concept, so it’s essential that students have concrete (manipulatives) and pictorial support for their learning. Ideally, fraction manipulatives, such as fraction tiles, should be available for students to use with this activity. I have included printable fraction strips that can be used if you don’t have manipulatives.
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There are lots of easy ways to incorporate graphing activities, and students love them! Click on the pictures below to visit some of my previous posts on graphing.