Here's the task: Put the following fractions in order from least to greatest:
3/7, 1/5, 5/6, 4/7, 7/8, 1/9 and 12/13
Would your students be comfortable doing this task, or would they groan and give up?
Would you want your students to attempt this by drawing individual pictures of fractions?
Would you want your students to attempt this using a desk full of manipulatives?
The first thing you get in this kit is a set of standardized fraction cards that use a hybrid linear model; they are in the form of a puzzle, in that one part of each card is missing, either the numerator, denominator or the shaded portion of the fraction. Print up the 27 different fractions on card stock (there are 9 to a page, so it's only 3 pages) and have your students fill them in and cut them out; they are much more accurate than sketching and easier to use than fraction bars, and more versatile than pattern blocks.
Using these cards, your students can investigate different strategies for comparing and ordering fractions. When the students have named and mastered these strategies, they will be able to solve 99% of every fraction task requiring ordering and comparing. Some of these strategies are "obvious," while others require looking at fractions a slightly different way. Put together, they will give your students a powerful understanding of how to model and compare fractions.
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