Fractions are a nightmare for students. I am not sure why this is, as underneath it all fractions are just another way to look at objects, by breaking them into smaller parts. The complication comes when we don’t visualise the link between objects and numbers. Fraction numbers without any link to objects in the primary school can be disastrous. To help your students visualise equal parts of shapes, we have created this activity called, “If this is one unit, then what is that?”
We think it will best suit Stage 3 students, but try it with Stage 2 as well. All you need to do is imagine inside your head how a smaller 2D shape can be combined to create a larger 2D shape.
For example, look at this yellow square, if this is one unit, then how does this unit shape relate to the blue trapezium? Can you mentally visualise how the yellow square will fit onto the blue shape? If so, what part is left? What part of another yellow square does this represent?
Can you see that it is a whole yellow square plus half of another one? So this blue shape is 1 and a half times the area of the yellow square.
What about this green trapezium. How many yellow squares could fit onto the same shape?
Can you see that it is the same as two yellow squares? One yellow square fits in the middle. The other yellow square could split in two and fit to cover the ends.
This activity contains plenty of discussions like this one to help your students imagine multiples of areas, multiples of fraction units.
We have also added the graphics separately for you to use any way you wish. See Fraction & Decimal GRAPHICS.
Please note that we have included suggested solutions to each of our Fraction Questions.