During this week, students in the ELD class were working on their fraction comprehension by playing a simple games. One game had 10 blocks in a bag, with different combinations of red blocks and blue block i.e., there can be 3 red blocks and 7 blue blocks in one bag. Students were asked to randomly select a handful of blocks from the bag and then fill in a table: Total # of blocks, total # of red blocks, total # of blue blocks. It was interesting to see that some students quickly noticed that if they pulled 3 red blocks out of 5 blocks in total, then the fraction for the red blocks would be 3/5, and the blue fraction would be 2/5. It took some other students longer to figure this out.
Students then completed a fraction worksheet with appropriate level questions, and an 'extension' problem.
"Sally has three broken pencils. These pencils make up 1 quarter of Sally's pencils. How many pencils does Sally have?"
I didn't know that this question would be such a problem for students to figure out. I had a lot of fun trying to explain it in various ways because each student understood the problem differently. The first student I had understood the problem after I explained the English to him. Another student understood the problem when I used a circle diagram to explain what one quarter is. And a different student liked it when she could draw the problem.
At first, she drew what she knew: three broken pencils. She also knew that these broken pencils "= 1/4". The next step was to see if she understood what 1/4 really meant. I drew a circle for her and asked her to divide it into quarters. She divided the square into 4 equal pieces. I then told her that if we know that in one quarter, there are three broken pencils, then how many pencils would be in the other quarters? She started saying random numbers like 1 and 5, but that was because she didn't understand that fractions had to be equal portions. After explaining that, she was able to make the connection that if one quarter has three pencils, then the other quarters should have three pencils too. Thus, she knew that there are 12 pencils in total, because 3+3+3+3= 12, and 3 of the 12 are broken (3/12). So Sally has 9 unbroken pencils (9/12).
I love seeing the look on students' faces when they finally understand the problem and figure out the answer.
Looking forward to creating my first math lesson for these wonderful students on Tuesday!
Glashan Public School
A vibrant and diverse school community in the heart of the city of Ottawa.
What is CSL?
Community Service Learning (CSL) is an academic program and form of experiential learning where students contribute to their community by participating in professor-approved community service placements related to course learning objectives.