Fraction Cards: 30 sets of color-coded fractions of a square (K-3 lessons on CD)

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30 student sets of cards, each set containing 11 different shapes with which to assemble a unit whole and explore equal fractions. The shapes are cut out of a 6-inch square, which is the unit whole. Pictured above is a list of the fraction cards in the entire set, and images of a student set, and the cards as they will be sent to you packed in the storage bin.

Younger students (K, 1, and 2) can use the same shapes to explore using rectangles, squares, and triangles to make (compose) larger and different shapes.

It’s like having a complete set of Fraction Towers for each student for identifying fractions and finding equal fractions, except these combine the perceptual and motor skills associated with assembling (composing) shapes and finding fractional parts of shapes. And these cost, well, a fraction of what Fraction Towers would.

Each student set of cards fits flat in a Ziploc bag (bags are included, but the cards are not already bagged). The bags store easily in the 13-quart clear bin.

The CD has three sets of lessons in PDF (and Smart Notebook 10) for Grades K through 3, complete with illustrated teaching notes. This brief overview of the content of the lessons gives you an idea of the many uses to which you can put these cards:

1. Identifying, writing, and ordering fractions and finding equal fractions using paper folding/coloring and cards representing fractional parts of a 6-inch unit square (Grades 2-3).

2. Using the cards to compose and decompose the unit square and smaller units, and identify the fractional parts (Grades 1-2).

3. Using the cards to compose and decompose larger shapes (K-1).


The fraction lessons for Grades 2-3 are based on the simplest manipulative approach to teaching fractions: students make their own fractions by paper folding. Students start with a 6” square of white paper (not included) which serves as the unit, fold the square, and identify the fractions created.

The fraction cards are identified as a particular fraction of the unit square simply by placing them on the folded unit square. The cards can then be combined into different sets to compare with each other.

The cards are cut from 6-ply Railroad Board, which is similar to an extra thick poster board, You can find a description of the material at the Dick Blick Art Supply site, or at Amazon. I have been using fraction cards made from Railroad Board for about 25 years. It’s durable stuff; I travel from classroom to classroom with sets of cards some of which have been in use for 10 years. I will be selling replacement sets of cards as well, so you can replace them as they are lost.

The cards are color coded in the following fractions: halves (rectangle and triangle), fourths (square, rectangle, and triangle), eighths (rectangle and triangle), sixteenths (square), and rectangular thirds, sixths, and twelfths.

Since the cards can be used at more than one level, teachers might want to buy one set to be shared between, for instance, a K and Grade 3 classroom.



Common Core Standards
The cards can be used to develop skills and explore concepts addressed in all these standards:

K.G.6: “Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. For example, “Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle?”

1.G.2: Compose two-dimensional shapes... to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape.”

1.G.3: “Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.”


2.G.3: “Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, ... Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape....”


3.NF.1: “Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts;...”


3.NF.3: “Explain equivalence of fractions...and compare fractions by reasoning about their size...”


3.G.2: “Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole...”


Subject: Math, Geometry, Fractions

Level: Grades K – 3

Length/Duration: 27 pages of student work, duration depends on grade level

Type of Resource: 30 sets of cards with activities for composing larger shapes from smaller and different shapes, identifying fractional parts, finding equal fractions.


Smart Notebook 10 files are included for all student lessons.
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Fraction Cards: 30 sets of color-coded fractions of a squa
Fraction Cards: 30 sets of color-coded fractions of a squa
Fraction Cards: 30 sets of color-coded fractions of a squa
Fraction Cards: 30 sets of color-coded fractions of a squa