Students in Math enjoying the Fraction Fruit Fiesta!
We learn by doing. The human brain is wired for hands-on interaction with the physical world.
Acquiring a solid foundation in mathematical concepts at an early age is critical to a child’s future learning and development of math skills. Some concepts are more easily absorbed than others, and the concept of fractions is one that often makes it to the “I don’t get it!” list. Despite its presence in our daily lives, fractions can be a challenging unit for some students to fully comprehend. The use of manipulative materials, when teaching these concepts, is an effective method that has proved to be highly enjoyable and interactive, and thus successfully helps students of all age groups to absorb and consolidate mathematical concepts.
Recently, the Grade 3’s treated themselves to a fraction fruit party when they brought in fruit to cut up into various fractions. The classroom was filled with excitement as the activity commenced. In fact, for a moment, the idea of this being part of a math lesson was forgotten, especially by those students who generally showed little interest in the subject. The students were given pieces of fruit of various fractions and each group was assigned the task of comparing fractions, and modelling equivalent fractions and mixed numbers using the pieces of fruit. The most enjoyable part of this activity was of course the chance to eat the fruit, but that opportunity came with one last task which was to guess the fraction with a blind-fold on! Surprisingly enough, by the end of the activities, all of the students were able to accurately guess most of the fractions by simply feeling the shape of the pieces of fruit.
Introducing activities of this nature in the classroom changes the perception that some students may have of this usually confusing concept. Hands-on fraction activities allow students to engage directly with fractions. These types of learning tasks serve a dual purpose: students get to interact with fractions in a tangible form, and they gain a clear knowledge of the relevance of fractions in the real world. Introducing challenging concepts with familiar everyday items, especially the edible kind, is sure to infuse a zest for math in students who sometimes fear the subject and withdraw from it because of a notion of not being able to grasp theories. Whatever the case may be, the Fraction Fruit Fiesta was more than just a fun and engaging activity. It not only cemented the concept, but it also satisfied the fruit cravings of a class full of fruit lovers!
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