Fractions are a way of life! The mathematical concept we all studied as a child has major implications in practical life. Remember the last time you cooked, and the recipe book said to use 3/4th of the ingredient? Yes, that’s a fraction in real life. Knowingly or unknowingly, fractions impact our daily activities, making fractions an important concept to learn and understand.

Teaching fractions to young minds requires a well-planned lesson to successfully execute the learning and equip children with the concepts of fractions. In this article, we added a lesson plan on fractions to help educators teach fractions to middle school children.

The article will also discuss some challenges students face while learning fractions and some strategies for educators to teach fractions to middle school students.

Let’s begin!

**What makes the concept of fractions challenging? **

Teaching fractions is a compulsory part of the curriculum. But students face problems in grasping the basic concepts of fractions. The misconceptions about fractions make the topic even more hard to grasp.

**Some common challenges while understanding fractions are- **

**1. Introducing concepts of fractions vaguely **

Fractions are indeed just numbers, but divide that number into different parts, name each part differently, assign different meanings to each part, and boom. Fractions are still numbers but with very complicated concepts.

Fractions are often introduced too vaguely. The whole can be divided into half and written as ½, where 1 is the numerator, and 2 is the denominator. But what are these terminology called numerators and denominators, and how to use them?

What we assume as concrete concepts in fractions are too novel and challenging for young students, and introducing the concepts of fractions vaguely can make the concept more challenging.

**2. Performing arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) on fractions **

Performing arithmetic operations on numbers can be challenging, especially when we have different values for denominators for each fraction or fractions vary in form, such as unit fractions, mixed fractions, etc. Further, a large denominator is usually assumed to be a large fraction compared to other fractions with small denominators, even if this is not the case. It makes the case of performing arithmetic operations on fractions a lot more challenging.

Children are just getting the hang of fractions, and introducing arithmetic means can influence their knowledge of fractions and make things more complex.

**3. Terminology **

Another major challenge while understanding fractions is the terminology of fractions. Fractions are of multiple types and can be denoted with multiple names, which makes understanding fractions challenging.

For instance, unit fractions, proper and improper fractions, etc. Understanding different concepts and terminology of fractions and associating them with each other can be challenging for middle school children.

**4. Children are still developing and do not have a growth mindset yet.**

Middle school children are still in the concrete learning phase and are moving towards more abstract learning. Their minds are still in the developing phase. Hence, it could be challenging for students to understand a new logical concept and relate it with other concepts to get a better hang of it. Therefore educators while keeping in mind the difference between concrete and abstract thinking can guide children effectively.

**5. Fractions represent units greater than 1 **

Children are initially taught fractions are part of the whole number. That makes a fraction smaller than or equal to 1. Now, introducing fractions greater than 1 often confuses the children to the extent of dropping the topic altogether.

**Fraction lesson plan for educators **

Considering the challenges shared above, the following fraction lesson plan is designed for middle school children. It is carefully designed and can be easily used by parents and teachers looking forward to introducing the concept to the kids. With simple step-by-step instructions, it will take approximately 60 minutes to cover it completely. The lesson plan will help educators teach the basics of fractions, that is, numerator and denominator, and the type of fractions.

**Alternative supplementary creative ways to introduce fractions to kids**

Fractions touch and impact various parts of our life. From shopping to cooking, knowledge of fractions is highly crucial for making practical concepts easy. To make fractions easy for children, educators can use creative ways to introduce the concepts of fractions to kids.

**Some ways to creatively introduce fractions to kids are- **

**Make connections with previous knowledge**

Children better understand challenging concepts when they have some previous knowledge to relate to. Educators can use the previous mathematical knowledge to relate the new fraction knowledge and introduce the concepts to the students.

**Stories revolving around fractions**

Stories are useful for grabbing the attention of students and communicating important lessons effectively. Additionally, stories are fun and children engage with them. Incorporating fractions into the stories will provide children a fun way to understand challenging concepts.

**Asking real-life questions**

Educators can also use different real-life situations to introduce fractions. For instance, ask students to divide a pizza into 6 pieces and educators can encourage children to identify different fractions into it. Educators can ask different real-life questions from children and can ask the children to brainstorm different fraction concepts related to those situations.

**Strategies for making fractions easy **

Fractions are challenging but not as challenging as most people believe it to be. Fractions can easily be comprehended and applied, with effort and the right strategies.

**Strategies for making fractions easy are- **

**1. Step-by-step instructions **

Fractions are challenging, and notions surrounding the concept make it scary. The best way to deal with such situations is to use step-by-step instructions. Educators can begin teaching fractions by introducing one step at a time. Starting to teach the concept gradually and clearing doubts at every step can result in a strong base and make the fractions easier for children. Various interesting and engaging books for fractions are available that can help educators in the process.

**2. Manipulatives **

Visualization makes the concepts easy. It applies to fractions as well. Math manipulatives for middle school, especially manipulatives for learning fractionS will simplify the tough fraction concepts for children and will help children understand them with hands-on exploration.

Manipulatives will give the children a strong base to rely on and test their knowledge.

**3. Online applications and software**

Gone are the days when teachers used to teach fractions with chalk and board. The digitally advanced world allows teachers to use advanced technology to make fractions easy and understandable for children. Advanced technology provides software or applications that can be used for learning fractions in the form of fun games and activities, such as online multiplying fraction games, dividing fraction games and activities, etc.

**4. Games and activities related to fractions **

To make the lesson fun and engaging, educators can employ creative games and activities that make fractions easier and help them learn. Educators can incorporate simple activities to teach fractions in the classroom and make their classes interactive, engaging, and informative by incorporating students. Additionally, various dice games for learning fractions are available to make the concept easy and fun.

Since the games use visualizations and children will be first-hand engaged in those games, they will better learn and remember the concepts.

**5. Grid-based visuals **

Grid-based visuals are another highly effective strategy that educators can use to make fractions easy. Grid-based visuals make the challenging concepts easy, and children can easily engage with the grids and experiment independently to get the hang of the concept.

It enables children to brainstorm and actively process tough concepts.

**Concluding thoughts **

Fractions are an important concept to master as they are applied to almost every part of our lives. Further, understanding fractions is important as it is only a groundwork for most complex mathematical concepts that are equally important to master. Until and unless students haven’t mastered fractions, they won’t be able to master other complex mathematical concepts.

With our effective fraction lesson plan, educators can make the fractions lessons easy, engaging, and interactive. The lesson will help educators lay a solid base for teaching fractions and helping students master them.

I am Sehjal Goel, a psychology student, and a writer. I am currently pursuing my Masters’s from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Child psychology has always fascinated me and I have a deep interest in learning about disabilities in children and spreading awareness regarding the same. My other areas of interest are neuropsychology and cognitive psychology. Connect me on Linkedin