Putting Fractions in a Box

Michael Butler, Fifth Grade, Elon Park Elementary School

Final Unit(pdf)   Implementing Teaching Standards(pdf)


Students often struggle with fractions. A common strategy the teachers will go to for identifying fractions is modeling with visuals until the standards require students to preform operations with fractions. Often students are then required to learn an algorithm for each of the separate operations. This unit extends the visual representations to include operations with fractions. It is meant to be taught as an extension to the 5th grade fractions standards, but the strategies in this unit can also be used to help guide students who need intervention or extra support. The rectangle is the basic model that students can use to visually perform the operations with fractions.  Throughout the unit, students are building toward a culminating project. The project requires that students design a layout looking at a rectangle as a whole space. During each phase of the unit, students extend their knowledge of the strategies with their design, until the end of the unit in which they use all of the strategies to build a scale model of their design.