Teach Fractions Through Word Problems

Teaching fractions can often seem like a daunting task. You may hear many the groan or sigh when you open a book to the section on fractions. This does not have to be the case. In fact, most students will not dread a topic once they feel confident working with the concept. 

The concept of a “fraction” is abstract. Visualizing apart versus a whole is a developmental skill not fully grasped by some students until middle or high school. There are a few ways to get your class embracing fractions, and there are a number of worksheets you can print out to nail the concept home for your students.

Make Fractions Relatable

Children, in fact, students of all ages prefer a hands-on demonstration or an interactive experience to pencil-and-paper math equations. You can get felt circles to make pie graphs, you can play with fraction dice, or even use a set of dominoes to help explain the concept of fractions.

If you can, order an actual pizza. Or, if you happen to celebrate a class birthday, well perhaps make it a "fraction" birthday cake. When you engage the senses, you have a higher engagement of the audience. Also, the lesson has a great chance of permanence, too.

You can print fraction circles so your students can illustrate fractions as they learn. Have them touch the felt circles, let them watch you create a felt circle pie representing a fraction, ask your class to color in the corresponding fraction circle. Then, ask your class to write the fraction out.

Have Fun with Math

As we all know, not every student learns the same way. Some children are better at visual processing than auditory processing. Others prefer tactile learning with hand-held manipulatives or may prefer games.

Games make what could be a dry and boring topic more fun and interesting. They provide that visual component that might make all the difference. 

There are plenty of online teaching tools with challenges for your students to use. Let them practice digitally. Online resources can help solidify concepts.

Fraction Word Problems

A problem is, by definition, a situation that causes perplexity. A primary tenet of teaching through problem-solving is that students confronted with real-life problems are forced into a state of needing to connect what they know with the problem at hand. Learning through problem-solving develops understanding.

A student's mental capacity grows more complex with time. Solving problems can force them to think deeply and to connect, extend, and elaborate on their prior knowledge. 

Common Pitfall

Sometimes you can spend too much time teaching fraction concepts, like "simplify," "find the common denominators," "use the four operations," that we often forget the value of word problems. Encourage students to apply their knowledge of fraction concepts through problem-solving and word problems. 

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Russell, Deb. "Teach Fractions Through Word Problems." ThoughtCo, Jan. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/fraction-word-problems-worksheets-2312266. Russell, Deb. (2020, January 29). Teach Fractions Through Word Problems. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/fraction-word-problems-worksheets-2312266 Russell, Deb. "Teach Fractions Through Word Problems." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/fraction-word-problems-worksheets-2312266 (accessed August 9, 2022).