Fun & Creative Ways To Teach Fractions Like a Pro
A lot of parents will agree that their children struggle with fractions. Though the concept is introduced as early as grade 4, most children continue to struggle with its application even during high school. Unable to quickly do operations like addition, subtraction or division, children start memorizing various ways to solve the problems. However, these rote techniques are not of much help in the long run. If there is even a slight mistake in memorizing them, children may get the entire answer wrong.
Even as adults, they will continue to use fractions directly or indirectly during college education or while giving aptitude tests and in their daily lives. A solid foundation in fractions is therefore a must to get both accuracy and speed in the calculations involving fractions.
In this blog, we are going to provide you with 3 ways in which you can build conceptual clarity about fractions in your child:
Help them visualise:
(Description: Visualisation of fractions using rectangular strips)
A lot of children struggle with fractions because they find it difficult to understand the physical significance of these numbers. The addition of a ½ and ⅔ doesn’t make sense if they cannot visualize the mechanics behind it. Thus, instead of asking them to add ½ and ⅔ academically, help them understand the concept using simple day-to-day objects.
For example, you can make rectangular strips using chart paper and some sketch pens, as shown. Mark divisions on these strips to depict the two fractions. This will help them visualise what fractions mean and what does their addition signify. You can also use other daily items such as slices of bread or roti to denote various types of fractions.
There are also a lot of online simulators available that can help your child understand fractions in a more visual manner.
For example, Math Playground’s Fraction bars is a simple online simulator that can help your child visualise fractions using coloured rectangular strips. The kids can simply move the slider and see how the value of a fraction increases or decreases with the change in its numerator and denominator.
Make simple DIY games:
(Description: A fraction spinner game)
Apart from simple visualisations, you can also make some simple games at home to make the learning process more interactive for your child.
For example, you can make a ‘fraction spinner’ game. Start by drawing a pie-chart with an even number of divisions on blank paper. Typically you should make 16 divisions. Now write one fraction in each of the pies as shown. Take a paperclip and a pencil. Hold the paper clip at the centre of the paper. Put the pencil’s flat end on the paper with the paper clip around it. Now strike the paper clip with your thumb and index finger so that the paper clip rotates around the pencil. When it comes to a halt, the clip will point to a certain pie having a certain fraction mentioned in it. You can make a list of actions that your child has to do based on the fraction that gets pointed.
Some examples are as follows:
1. Stand up if the fraction can be converted to a whole number
2. Clap your hands if the value of the fraction is greater than 1
3. Reduce the fraction if it is possible
4. These kinds of fun and interactive games will help make the concept of fractions easier to understand.
Make a set of worksheets:
(Image: Sample of a worksheet)
Practice is very important to make solving fractions second nature to your child. Solving worksheets on a regular basis can help them achieve this.
For example, you can make these worksheets based on their textbook or simply find some worksheets online. It is important that your child practices different types of operations like conversion of fractions into simpler formats, finding the decimal values of fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to build a solid understanding of the topic.
We hope the tips we shared in this blog will help you get started with making ‘fractions’ easy and fun for your kids. Remember not to rush your child into being a master of any subject. Let them take their time to fully grasp the concepts. That is the only way you can help them build a solid foundation for the future.
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