# What do I Have? This is an image from our smart-board today, and what students took notes on in the their journals at the beginning of class. We were exploring strategies for solving word problems. Our focus right now is word problems involving multiplying fractions, and will change to dividing fractions later this week.

Students often do what I call smooshing the numbers together. Students will pull out numbers and add, subtract, multiply, or divide without taking the time to understand the situation. This strategy causes students to arrive and unreasonable solutions, and also makes it difficult for students to evaluate for reasonableness.

A way to avoid this is to start with asking: “What do I have?” Students can then draw a picture of what they have. This helps the student to understand what is happening. To explore this we did numberless word problems. These are problems that start with no numbers at all, and then gradually give you more information.

This is an example halfway through our word problem, and a model that was created to go with it. Notice that the 1/2 a gallon is also the full bucket. This allowed us to have a conversation about what the word “whole” means, which we will continue tomorrow.

# Equivalent Fractions

Your mathematician should be noticing that two fourths make a half, just like two quarters make 50 cents. A conversation you can have can begin by showing this image. What patterns do you see? What do you notice? # Homework Wednesday November 15th

For homework tonight students are asked to model 0.5. For this work students will create representations that are equivalent to 0.5. An important equivalency is that 0.5 is the same value as 1/2. This representation could look like this: Comparing to quarters is another important benchmark equivalency is that 0.25, 1/4 and a quarter are all equivalent values. Another representation could look like this: Students could also use the number line. A possible representation could look like this: Students could also demonstrate their knowledge that two 1/4s make a half, and that 1/2=0.5 using the number line. # Reviewing Fractions

Fraction work is one of the critical areas of 5th grade math. Students in my class will soon begin this work and will continue exploring fractions for some time. We find that students have often forgotten or missed some of the concepts that underlie our work, so reviewing the fundamentals is a vital first step. Please check out the videos in the Fractions tab to begin to explore some of the foundational thinking that the fraction work is built on.

The concept of a unit fraction is one of the most fundamental concepts in fractions. Students with a strong understanding of unit fractions have a much stronger conceptual foundation of fractions, and are much more successful in their fraction work. Two areas of focus would be to ensure that you students can:

1. Explain what a unit fraction is, and describe how fractions are built by combining unit fractions.
2. Accurately compare the relative sizes of unit fractions.

Manipulatives should be used when students are doing this work. A math manipulative is something that the student can physically manipulate is space. Fraction tiles are extremely valuable during this work. Fraction Tiles

Free printable fraction tiles

Fraction tiles for sale

You can also contact me for help obtaining fraction tiles for your child to use at home.

Here is a video outlining how to begin reviewing and exploring fractions. There are other videos in the Fractions tab that can help to further clarify this work.