I’m linking up with Amanda and Stacia again for their Mentor Text linky and this time it’s all about math! The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins is a great book to help students visualize division as well as fractions of a set. In the book, Mom made a dozen cookies for her two kids and they have to decide how to split the batch evenly. Then, more and more kids start showing up, so they have to keep dividing the batch into equal groups. I had my kids use bingo chips to represent the cookies and each time the doorbell rang, we stopped to manipulate our chips into equal groups to figure out how many cookies each kid would get.
Most of my kids could already do the mental math, but it helped even the highest ones visualize fractions of a set because while we were figuring out how many cookies each kid got, we also wrote the fraction of the batch they got. They noticed that if there were 4 kids and each kid got 3 cookies, that was 3/12 of the batch. They could also see that 3/12 could be simplified to 1/4 because each kid got 1 out of 4 of the groups.
Once we finished reading the book, I had them work with a partner to come up with different combinations of cookies and kids while manipulating their chips. They filled in their recording sheets, showing the number of cookies in the batch, the number of kids, the fraction each kid got, and that fraction simplified.
Above is an example of one student’s recording sheet. The first table is the one we did together with the book, and I have three more tables on the backside. Feel free to grab it for free by clicking the image.:)
Simplifying fractions is such a tough concept, and I was glad we did this little exploration so they could actually visualize the process of simplifying. Be sure to link up with Amanda and Stacia!