Using paper folding to introduce “adding fractions”

Just a quick little update…it’s been hard to blog because we have hardly been in school!  Today is day THREE of being off after our brief 2 day return!

One of the things we DID accomplish in our time back after break was our introduction to addition and subtraction with fractions.  I thought our new series presented it in a rather interesting way, so I tweaked it a little (knowing my class and their….ummmm…focus challenges)

In a nutshell, I asked the students (in trios) to fold 4 pieces of paper into eighths.  I told them I didn’t care HOW they divided them into eighths–but asked that they do it the same way for each piece–and that they do it in less than three minutes.  I then asked them to come back and we talked about how they accomplished the task.

I then sent them back to shade the following fractions on their pages–each sheet representing a different fraction–1/8, 2/8, 3/8, and 5/8.  Again, I gave the team 3 minutes to accomplish the goal.  We then talked about how it didn’t matter WHICH of the sections were colored…just that the fraction was represented (ex.  3 out of the 8).  Both of these mini-tasks were a great review from winter break.

I then talked to them about counting by unit fractions…also review.  We did some counting together—1/5, 2/5, 3/5 and so on.  I then asked what would happen to each of their folded papers if they counted up 1 more eighth.  I showed a sample and we worked as a class to model it with 3/8.

We talked about writing equations to match what we did, and then I sent them back to try adding TWO eighths to each of their sheets and to write a matching equation.
It was a great way for the students to see the additive nature of fractions–and to realize that adding fractions really is COUNTING by a number of parts.  Hopefully this will help clear up those “add the denominator” misconceptions.  Hope everyone is staying warm!