This lesson is centered on group work and station work. I completed this lesson in one 55 minute block setting. Ideally, it can be stretched to two periods for students to get the full effect.
I broke students into homogenous groups of about 4-6 and had each student partner up with one other person in the group. One station completed the "Fractional Clothesline" activity I pulled from the Illuminations website. Students cut out (or for sake of time, the teacher may cut out) the pieces, and the objective is for the partners to discuss where the correct placement of the mixed/improper fraction on the fraction clothesline. There are a few follow up questions on the sheet for students to discuss, or to start a class discussion.
Another group worked on a set of classroom computers and went to the website: http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/frames_asid_159_g_2_t_1.html?from=category_g_2_t_1.html
This site allows students to visually compare two fractions and see how finding a common denominator helps comparing fractions easily. I had students write down every problem that came up and turn it in at the end for an assessment.
The last group worked with dominoes to practice adding two fractions together. Each group received a stack of dominoes and turned them over so that the markings are not visible. Each group also received a container of small chips that will be used as markers. Following the directions given on the worksheet, students wrote the two fractions given by the visual. (#1 on the sheet is 2/3 and 1/2) Students added groups of fractions until they both had the same amount of dominoes in each row. (#1 the first row should be 6 dominoes with 4 chips and the second row should be 6 dominoes with 3 chips on it=7/6) The purpose of the dominoes is for students to see visual representations of finding a common denominator.
I gave each station about 17-20 minutes to work and I felt each group could have used more time.