Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Yawwwwwwwn - Fractions are boring!

Day 5 - #30DayChallenge

Fractions - one of the hardest concepts for elementary kids to get a grasp of.

Today I invited myself into a grade three class that were learning about fractions. The lesson was not deep inquiry or problem based but more of an exploration around understanding 'part of a whole'.

The students had completed some preliminary activities around finding the shaded fractions of shaded areas. I think in most cases students were able find and write or describe fractions of 'pizzas'. I walked in during the class discussion about they'd already done.

I helped out with the lesson and by the end I noticed that some students were yawning, bored and still struggling with what we has been talking about. I know that the understanding of fractions won't happen in one lesson but I also wonder if we could have had the students work on more engaging work.

How could we make this more authentic and engaging for these grade threes. To me, the biggest problem was the timeframe we had to work with. The exam is next week and there is still content to be covered (a typical problem, I'm sure for many gr3, 6, and 9 teachers.

My ideas for making the work more engaging:

  • Real Problem - designing a real life problem for students to solve - This would possibly a longer project so not good for this time of year
  • Add in some authentic tasks - building, making, cutting, drawing, explaining, and finding fractions from our community/school building
  • Using technology:
    • Smart Notebook for solving problems and building fractions
    • iPads - Finding and taking pictures of fractions
  • Using ideas from Marion Small - using "Big Ideas" as building blocks for developing understanding
  • Doing a range of different activities to help reach all learners

Have any other ideas? Please share!

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