Monday Math Challenge: Equivalent Fractions

The Common Core has created a variety of shifts which focus more on children conceptualizing their answers, persevering through problems, and building their critical thinking skills.  In our classroom we have been working on equivalent fractions.  The majority of the kiddos seem to be understanding this idea concretely, but are still having a hard time abstractly visualizing what this means...and also applying the concept beyond just a standard fraction conversion (i.e., 1/2 = 4/8).

So, I spent today's Math class tackling a Math challenge to get their creative and critical thinking juices flowing.  Last week we had already prepped our interactive Math Notebooks with the activity and were ready to get started today. 

At first, the students were asked to work independently and split the dotted boxes in half four different ways.

When the students were finished, they rotated around the room, sharing and comparing their answers with classmates.  We noticed that everyone in the class split the boxes in half the same four ways.

Next, the students were put into small groups and were asked to see if there were any other ways the boxes could be split.  At first the students were very frustrated that I would not offer them any suggestions.  They wanted me to give them the answers because they insisted  the box could only be split in the four ways they already discovered.  However...after five minutes or so, as I was walking around, I began to hear some great talk generating among the groups.

The students began discussing with one another what it meant to have "half" of something.  Essentially they started discovering that as long as there were the same amount of dots on each side, then that would equal a half.  Voila!  Exactly what I was hoping for them to discover (*does proud teacher dance)!  Soon our boxes got more creative...

At the close of the lesson, the kiddos shared their designs on the SMARTBoard, and as a class we discussed which designs worked...or did not work...and why.  Then, we calculated the equivalent fractions for each drawing. 

I was so excited to see my students persevere through this difficult Math challenge together, and "connect the dots" (literally) between this activity and what it means to have two equivalent fractions.  This fraction challenge is part of an Equivalent Fraction Unit that will soon be up for sale in my TpT store.  Stay tuned, the pack will be up by the end of this week. :)

What are some interactive ways you teach your kiddos about difficult Math concepts such as fractions? I'd love to read your comments below!

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