Often teachers approach whole number operations through reasoning and estimation, but do not consider using similar strategies when encountering fraction problems. Students should approach all problems first by reasoning about their answer, then estimating before finding an exact solution. As we reinforce these strategies on a daily basis we will emphasize a deeper understanding of concepts as the estimates can help students evaluate the reasonableness of their calculations.
The two activities in this resource can be used to support reasoning and estimating with fraction multiplication.
The first activity, Tell Me, Tell Me, Tell Me More, encourages students to view a multiplication problem. Prior to completing the calculation they must tell three things that are true about the fractions and operation as a means of getting a better sense of the anticipated answer. The problems have been chosen to highlight specific reasoning strategies such as benchmark fractions.
The second activity, Making Estimates, provides fraction multiplication problems with possible answers listed in order from least to greatest. Students work to eliminate the obvious incorrect answer choices as they estimate using mental strategies.