Fractions are introduced in the first and second grades in school. Some students are easily able to understand and apply the concept, while others may struggle even after moving to higher grades. Fractions are somewhat a difficult topic, especially when students have to progress to 1/2 and 3/4, when they were just getting used to the addition of two-digit numbers and counting till 100. The burden of having to learn a new topic in math, while making sure you don’t forget the basics taught at the preschool level is a daunting task for some children.
We use fractions in our everyday lives, either knowingly or unknowingly while running our day-to-day errands. Take for example the following scenario:
A cake is to be divided into 8 equal portions for a birthday party. If one child eats one piece from the cake, how many pieces remain and how would you represent it in terms of a fraction?
Answer: The remaining portion can be written as 7/8 where 7 is the numerator and 8 is the denominator.
Kids are taught the concept of fractions in stages:
Grade 1 – 2: Children learn from everyday scenarios and by observing things around them. Like when you have to divide a bar of chocolate into equal parts, or you have to distribute juice amongst classmates, etc.
Grade 3: Kids learn to identify numerator and denominator
Grade 4: How to compare fractions? The fraction with the lesser numerator is the smaller fraction and the one with the greater numerator is the higher fraction.
Grade 5: The complexity of the concept increases when children are taught to solve problems requiring them to add and subtract fractions
Here’s how Educators can introduce Fractions in an easy comprehendible fashion to students:
Construct Hands-on Activities
Prepare flashcards with different shapes such as; triangles, circles, and squares and highlight or shade a portion, in increasing or decreasing order of coverage.
Another activity could be; making art & craft models of pies or pizzas and playing a game whereby the educator instructs the child by giving them different scenarios; like give me 3/4 of the pizza or share 2/3 of your pie with Raju in class.
For some recreation in class, ask children to get a newspaper and fold it into 1/2, 1/4, and so on and ask children to stand on the paper balancing themselves.
Create Colorful Visual Elements
Learning fractions doesn’t have to be boring at all! Imagine having a colorful fractions wall in the classroom with shades of VIBGYOR. Children observe the wall and by looking at it over and over again they memorize fractions, without any difficulty. You can even have stickers with numbers and keep them beside the fractions wall. Every morning, follow a ritual where children get to stick the numerator and denominator on the blank space on the wall. Using the fraction wall helps children a great deal! Also, with the progress of educatory system, schools in GCC countries, UAE and across other continents, are adopting hands-on learning techniques rather than following the traditional method of rote learning out of a textbook.
Use Math Apps and Digital Resources
Children are anyways glued to their phones, so why not give them something productive to do. Google Plays Store and the Apple Store are loaded with EdTech apps that promote learning through fun & engaging gamified quizzes, activities, and videos. Mathletics is one such platform that features online math lessons so that students can access the school’s math curriculum from anywhere at any time and continue to partake in challenging fractions. The popularity of Mathletics is such that 14,000+ schools have already collaborated to introduce this platform to kids, including K-12 and IB schools in Dubai in the Middle East.
We are sure with some help from educators & parents, and using the above-listed innovative learning techniques, learning fractions will be no rocket science for kids!