Teaching halves and quarters made easy

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Teaching fractions is actually my favourite maths activity because you get to CUT STUFF UP! 

Concrete materials are the way to get kids engaged in maths.

Today we did a revision of halves and quarters. Firstly, we reviewed what a half and a quarter was by playing with manipulatives (this wooden pizza set came from Kmart and is so handy for pulling apart and putting back together with the velcro attached). 

Then I told a maths story where we bought pizza and wanted to share it between two people. How could we do that? Making equal halves. Reinforcing the 'this is 1 whole' and when cut 'these are now 2 parts of the whole'

and again with quarters

After that, we reviewed what a fraction in maths actually means by using my fraction poster from the Food Fraction Pack and kept referencing back and forth between the concrete items and the abstract fraction on the paper.

Next, we started to cut some pizzas up by again using a maths story to bring in real-world problem-solving strategies - these sheets come from the Pizza Fractions Pack.

Kids love designing their own pizza and even the most stubborn child will start to engage here!

Again, more cutting. 'Show me half of a pizza'. Here you are checking to see they understand that both parts need to be equal.

Keep referring back to the concrete materials when students seem stuck.

Then 'show me a quarter'. Here you're looking for folding to check it's equal before cutting. If not ask students 'how do you know it's equal?'.

Lastly, connect the abstract fraction to the concrete fraction by getting students to write the fraction on each piece. Pull apart and return together - whole/quarter, whole/half again and again. Keep pulling students back to the denominator and the numerator. Why are fractions written the way they are written? Make that your final 'check and see' question for the lesson.

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