Grade: 5th Subject: Math Expectation(s): Can multiply and divide

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Grade: 5th
Subject: Math
Expectation(s): Can multiply and divide simple fractions and decimals
Materials needed: pencil, paper, markers/crayons
Lesson Description: Model the concept of multiplying fractions through paper folding.
Give your student a piece of paper, different colored markers/crayons, and a sample fraction multiplication
problem – e.g. ¾ x 2/3.
Have them represent the first fraction by folding and coloring the paper. To do so, fold the paper into fourths
(representing the denominator of the fraction) and then color in three of the sections (representing the
numerator). It should look something like this:
Next, have them turn the paper (from portrait to landscape orientation) and fold and color to represent the other
fraction being multiplied. For the example problem, fold into three sections (the denominator) and color in two of
them (numerator).
Your student’s paper should now have a grid of 12 sections that looks something like the illustration below.
The grid contains the answer to the multiplication problem: sections that have overlapping colors represent the
numerator (6 sections) and the total number of sections represent the denominator (12 sections): 6/12, or ½.
Encourage your student to always simplify their answers if possible.
Have your student complete a few more simple problems using this method. Ask if they see any patterns; the two
most important concepts they should understand are: (1) the answer to each problem is always smaller than either
of the factors; (2) you can get the answer for each problem by multiplying the numerators and then multiplying the
denominators.
Teaching and learning tips/strategies:
• Students need to understand the conceptual ideas behind multiplication of fractions, not simply the rules
to follow (i.e. multiply the numerators, multiply the denominators). Giving them a visual representation of
the process will help them to better understand these concepts and increase their ability to remember the
rules they follow to solve problems.
• Vocabulary is an important part of mathematics. When working with fractions, continually reinforce the
meaning of numerator (top number), denominator (bottom number), mixed number (a whole number and a
fraction), proper fraction (numerator’s smaller than the denominator) and improper fraction (numerator’s
larger than the denominator).
• Don’t forget to praise your student’s effort!
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