Paper folding is a great way to model making fractions – as good as anything short of cutting pizzas, pies, brownies, or oranges into equal parts. Second graders start with an identifiable whole and divide it into a specific number of equal parts. It’s a kid-friendly, age appropriate, hands-on introduction to fractions. It also tests their powers of imagination: try to do the question about fourths in the picture above.
We use a variety of shapes: squares, other rectangles, circles, triangles, rhombi, and hexagons. Students experiment with different ways to divide shapes into a given number of parts; turns out that there are four different ways to divide a rectangle or square into fourths. The emphasis is on counting the total number of parts, and making sense of the way fractions are named and written.
We also use geoboards, both square and circular, to create equal parts of a whole.
This is a great way for students to experiment with making equal parts; you can remake a part if it doesn’t work.
Common Core Standards:
2.G.2: ”Partition a rectangle into rows and columns of same-sized squares and count to find the total number of them.”
2.G.3: ”Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, half of, a third of, etc…. Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape.”
Subject: Math, Fractions
Level: Grade 2
Length/Duration: 12 pages of student work
A Smart Notebook 14 file is also included.