In elementary math there are several concepts about fractions. One concept students in fourth grade will need to master is learning how to tell if fractions are equivalent with unlike denominators. There are a few prerequisite skills that are necessary in order for the students to understand this concept. The first thing students need to know is what fractions are. Fractions are a way of counting parts of a whole. Secondly, the students need to know how to identify parts of a fraction. The top number in a fraction is the numerator. The numerator is the number of parts in a whole (Eather). The bottom number in a fraction is the denominator. The denominator is the number of parts the whole is divided into (Eather). Lastly, the student will need to have a basic knowledge of their multiplication and division facts. This will help the students in deciding whether or not the fraction is indeed equivalent or not.
The first step in teaching students about equivalent fractions is to have a whole class conversation using manipulatives or visual aides. I would start the lesson with an overhead projection or use of a mimeo board in order to show the students what equivalent fractions look like. I would start with two circles on the board, one divided into two pieces and one divided into four. You can show the students by coloring in one of the two pieces and two of the four pieces they are equivalent. Then write 1/2 and 2/4 side by side, in order to make 2/4 look like 1/2 you have to divide both sides by the same number. Both the numerator and the denominator in 2/4 are divisible by 2. Divide both the top and the bottom by 2 and then 2/4 becomes 1/2. Show the students again with a square. One divided into 4 sections and the other divided into 8 sections. The square with four sections color in one of the blocks to represent 1 of the 4 or 1/4 of the square is shaded. Have the students then figure out how many sections of the 8 need to be shaded to mirror or be equivalent...
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