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Excel Math Blog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Those Fantastic Fractional Parts

piece of cherry pie

Here are some fun activities to help your students partition circles and rectangles into equal shares. In the process younger students will describe the shares using the words halves and fourths or quarters. 

Older students will divide objects into smaller shares using the words thirds and a third of, and eventually using smaller and smaller fractional parts.

For each student provide scissors, 2 graham crackers, 2 round crackers, a letter-size piece of paper, an envelope and a paper plate.

If you like, bring a pie cut in half along with a knife to divide it further as you talk about various fractional parts. After the lesson, give each student a small bite!

Give each student scissors, 2 graham crackers, a letter-size piece of paper, an envelope, and a paper plate.

Ask the students to cut the paper in half to form 2 equal shares (they can fold it first to form a cutting line). Ask them how many halves make one whole. (2)

Some students may cut the rectangle across the width. Others may cut it along the diagonal or the length. Now have the students who cut rectangles fold one rectangular shaped paper in half to form two equal triangles. Students who already have a triangle can cut it in half to form two equal triangles.

Ask them how many triangular halves make a whole. (2)

Have the students sort the items by shape. Let them describe which are circles, which are triangles and which are rectangles.

Circles = paper plate, round crackers

Triangles = paper halves

Rectangles = graham crackers, paper halves, envelope

 math lesson worksheets

round crackers

Ask the students to break one of their round crackers in half (two equal partitions) so they can share it with a friend.

Have them describe the new shapes formed (two squares or rectangles).

Have them break one of the rectangular crackers into quarters or fourths (4 equal pieces). Which pieces are smaller? (The fourths are smaller than the halves. 4 fourths = 1 whole and 2 halves = 1 whole.)

Ask the class to fold the rectangular paper in half and then into fourths. Have them open the paper after each fold and count the rectangles. (2 then 4)

Ask the class how many fourths make up a whole. (4)

Ask the students which share is smaller—the halves or or the fourths. (the fourths)

Now have them fold the paper plate in half and then open it. How many halves are there? (2)

Can they estimate how many fourths there would be? (4)

Help your students understand that “the whole” is composed of two halves, or four fourths or four quarters. Give each student a Fractional Parts Worksheet (download it from Excel Math).

Have the class shade one half of each object (skipping #2).

Ask them how many halves make up a whole.

Then have them shade one quarter of shapes #1, #4, #6 and #9. Ask them how many quarters (or fourths) make up a whole.

Finally, have them shade one third of shape #3. Ask how many thirds make up a whole. 

Download a Number Line with Fractional Increments and have your students find some of these fractions on the number line.

Have them add two fractions to make a whole and then represent that number sentence on the number line.

Fraction WorksheetFractional Parts Worksheet

excel math lesson worksheets

Excel Math Student Lesson Sheets

Do you need some proven math resources to help your students get ready for spring testing?

Try the Excel Math Summer School/Intersession 6-week program.

Take a look at samples on our website or give us a call to find out more.

The cost is just $6.25 per student for the entire 30 lessons.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website:

Also find math resources for teachers, parents and students and walk through a lesson at

Download sample lessons from our new Common Core Teacher Editions at

You might also like these articles:

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade:

Download sample lessons from our new Common Core Teacher Editions for Grades 1-5 at

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