Fractions introduce children to the concept of breaking the whole numbers into smaller parts. These parts are less than the whole number one, quantitywise. Making use of this idea of breaking numbers into fractions finds its best utility in real-life situations where something is to be divided into equal parts among a group of people.
Fraction learning can help kids develop better number sense and understand the other quantities and values which they can get from decomposing the numbers further. So, there is a need to give a solid start to the kids so that they internalize the concept of fractions and understand its practical utility. To impart better practical knowledge, activities on fractions can help in a variety of ways. Let’s take a look at some advantages of teaching fractions through activities to kindergarteners or preschoolers.
Advantages of using activities to teach fractions to kindergartners
A book does act as a reference point, but not all kids are born with similar grasping power. Some simply do not understand the numbers and relationships, and that sign of ‘/’ separating denominator from a nominator adds more to the agony. Activities take away the hassle from the learning process and open doors for knowing various strategies to solve fraction related problems. Some of the best advantages of activities are:
- Kids get to see and touch the fractional values in a tangible form. This makes them comfortable with values like 1/3, 2/3, and so on.
- They are engaged in the process and develop better concentration as numbers are replacing real-life objects that they understand better than cardinal numbers written in books
- Activities help stimulate the minds of early learners to grasp the methodology of solving fractional problems. They can learn to do basic operations on fractions like addition and subtraction by actually taking out a portion from things and see the actual result. This practical explanation serves as a learning tool that later brings better fluency with operations in children.
- Since activities help build better number sense, the kids become curious about exploring the concept further, and so the fear of math is replaced by the want to learn gradually.
- Activities promote a gaming-based learning environment that attracts kids easily and they look forward to learning more and more, without feeling bored or getting distracted.
All these pointers show that you are definitely easing the learning woes of the child by doing activities on fractions, and helping them groom into confident problem solvers.
Listed here are some of the interesting and easy-to-do activities for teaching fractions that your kindergartners would definitely love to try and practice often.
Interesting fraction-based activities designed for kindergartners
1. Create Fraction Bar Strips and Paste it on charts
You can create an anchor chart stating the values 1/12, 1/6, 1/8, 1/4, and so on, on the left side. Now, you take a long strip of about 6 -inch size and ask the child to create strips corresponding to a fractional value, such as 1/4, 1/6, 1/2 inch, and so on.
They can come to the anchor chart fixed on a board or kept on a table and paste their strips in front of the fractional value stated on the left side of the chart. This activity is quite effective in telling about various fractional values and they can memorize it by looking at the anchor chart daily.
2. Use pizza-shaped manipulative to give fraction learning exercises
Who doesn’t like Pizza and isn’t its shape too intriguing? You can host a pizza party or simply bring a pizza-shaped manipulative. The manipulative can be divided into 1/6 parts and you can show kids how to add 1/6th portions to create more values like 1/3rd and others.
When using a manipulative, you can ask the child to number the parts made, as 1/4, 1/3, and spread them on the table in some order. This activity helps internalize the concept of breaking the number one into parts up to 1/6th portion. When using a real pizza, you can use a pizza cutter to demonstrate the concept of fractions and reward the child who guesses the fractional value correctly with that pizza piece.
3. Half-empty or half-full glass activity
You can take a glass and mark on it 1/2 or 1/3rd levels. Take another glass with water filled to mark 1. Now, ask the child to fill the empty glass up to 1/3rd mark and ask him to see the difference in the amount of water in the two glasses.
Gradually, you can ask them to fill more water to higher levels marked to help them understand how fractions will add up to create the whole number 1. This activity is quite engaging and can be done with transparent juice tumblers that come with 1/2, 1/4, and so on marks on it.
4. Create paper pieces of different colors & arrange them on a number line
A number line is a very easy-to-use manipulative that can be used for fraction activities fit for kindergartners. You give the child the long paper strips. Ask them to align the strip on the number line and mark the portions on differently colored strips as 1/2, 1/4, 1/6, that you mark on the number line.
Now, ask them to color code the portions and cut the paper strips according to the fraction chosen for that color. They can paste the cut strips on the line to see how fractional values look in the form of a portion of the strip. Both the difference in color and size of the strip reinforces the concept of fractions in the minds of early learners with this activity.
5. Cutting chocolate bars in different parts
The chocolate bar which is divisible into small, equal-sized portions can be a good guiding material for performing a fraction-based activity to engage kindergartners. You simply count the number of breakable portions from the bar. And, then cut it into different groups of those portions.
Means, if the chocolate is in form or 6×2, you can start breaking one cube, then move to a set of 2 and then 3, to demonstrate the concept of 1/12, 2/12, 4/12, and so on. Again, apply the number talk method to engage the child into guessing the portion size and reward them with that portion, if they state the correct fraction.
6. Make round clock dials and cut them into smaller parts
A clock is a daily use object that kids can relate to easily. Its round dial gives an idea of the wholeness of a number. You can make the clock dial in a cardboard paper and demarcate its fractional portions. Then, you guide the child to cut on the dotted lines to create its 1/2 to 1/12th part. You can show the child how to outline it using a marker and number it as the corresponding fraction and ask to repeat for other portions.
This simple activity gives a fair introduction to the concept of fractional value to the child. This activity is helpful in teaching children values ranging from 1/12 to 1/2 to child. Also, the idea of minutes in an hour becomes easy to understand for the kids through this activity.
How to use fraction activities for kindergarteners for maximizing learning?
As stated above, the sole purpose of activities is to achieve better participation from kids and engage them more deeply into the learning process, some tricks are required to ensure that kids take up the activities exactly as per the intended purpose. Some of the intervention methods are:
1. Try to use daily life objects as activity material as far as possible: The kids relate with the objects quite easily, and look forward to using them with added curiosity. It also helps them develop a learning-based perspective towards the things around them and improves their imaginative abilities.
2. Use math fact talk as an intervention tool: You can start the activity with a chosen math fact, like saying ‘today is 1 by 2 day, we will learn what half means.’ This simple sentence can help the child concentrate all its thinking on the concept and develop strategies to find half values in the course of doing the activity.
3. Encourage the child to devise strategies and share: Whenever you are starting an activity, demonstrate a simple way first. Then, ask the child to repeat. Also, encourage them to come up with different ways to achieve that step. For example, when you are showing a half-circle, the child can be motivated to add 1/4 and 1/4 pieces also to see how a half-circle can be made from different combinations of pieces.
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