Time 4 Fractions – Problem #11 – Sharing modeling clay

This is the eleventh post related to our Time 4 Fractions (T4F) journey. Please click here to start from the beginning.

Here is another Equal Sharing problem. This week, I am including a few words about how a child may share his/her reasoning, depending on his/her previous exposure to fractions. Hope it helps.

Time 4 Fractions –  Problem #11 – Sharing sticks of modeling clay

Level Yellow – 2 students want to share 7  sticks of modeling clay so that each of them gets the same amount. How many sticks of modeling clay would each get?

Level Orange – 4 students want to share 2 sticks of modeling clay so that each of them gets the same amount. How many sticks of modeling clay would each get?

Level Red – 8 students want to share 3 sticks of modeling clay so that each of them gets the same amount. How many sticks of modeling clay would each get?

Invite your child to either model the problem (with paper and scissors for instance) and/or represent the problem with a picture. If your child has learned about fractions at school, invite him/her to connect symbols to the model or picture. And as always, invite your child to share his/her reasoning with you !

The problem will lead to a solution of each student getting 3 sticks and 1/2 (level Yellow) , 1/2  stick (level Orange) or 3/8 of a stick (level Red).

Sharing my experience

The goal of T4F is really to provide children with additional opportunities to explore fractions at home, so they have stronger foundations to build up on when they study fractions at school. Depending on the grade level of your child, he/she may share his/her reasoning through (based on Fig 1.18, Empson & Levi, p27)

1. modeling with concrete object or representing with a picture the situation, without using any terminology related to fraction (e.g. with Level Yellow, the child may say “I am cutting the last stick in 2 pieces, and I give one piece to this student, and one piece to that student”)
2. using numbers and words. The child solves the problem while modeling / representing the situation, using numbers and words such as halves or fourth (e.g. with Level Orange, the child may say “Each child has one half of a stick”, without writing fraction symbol)
3. relating unknown fractions to a well known fractions (e.g. with Level Red, the child may say “each child will have more than a fourth, but less than a half”, without using a fraction symbol of 3/8).
4. using standard fraction symbols (e.g. with Level Red, the child may say, and write, “each child gets 3/8 of a stick of modeling clay”).

See you next week for our last Equal Sharing problem !

Reference

Empson, S. E., and Levi, L. (2011). Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann. ISBN-13: 978-0325030531.