In this blog post I will go over the third grade common core math standards 3.NF.2 & 3.NF.3 and provide you with activities you can use with your students. These activities also work well for students who need remediation in 4th and 5th grade.
Number & Operations – Fractions
- I can partition a number line into halves, thirds, fourths, or sixths.
- I can represent fractions on a number line.
- I can use models, number lines, and words to explain how fractions are equivalent.
- I can compare fractions by reasoning about their size.
- I can show whole numbers as fractions.
1. Use Fraction Bars
Students tend to understand area models well. They can take a rectangle and partition it into thirds, fourths, and so on. They can use fraction bars to compare and explain why one-half is greater than one-fourth.
So, let’s use what students are comfortable with to introduce fractions a number line.
In the above activity, students will shade a bar diagram to represent a fraction. They then use the bar diagram to help them partition the number line. Finally, they plot the fraction.
You can choose to use this printable during small groups. There are three versions of this printable, so you can easily differentiate as needed.
- The first version has the fractions listed on the page.
- The second version has a spot for students to write a fraction.
- The third version is the most challenging, because students need to partition the number line and plot the fraction.
2. Use a Math Sort
Students enjoy working on math sorts. It’s always a win when you can teach a challenging topic in a fun way. This activity not only gets students cutting/pasting, but it also encourages students to explain their thinking.
- Step 1: Cut the cards
- Step 2: Find the 4 fractions
- Step 3: Find the bar model that matches the fraction
- Step 4: Find the number line model that matches the fraction & bar model
- Step 5: Explain how the three cards are related
- Step 6: Glue
3. Get Students Moving!
Organize your students into groups and have them create a large number line model. They can use chart paper, tape, string or anything else you may have in your classroom.
The purpose is to get students moving and creating! I have typed up 5 different activity pages you can use with your students. They include a recording spot, so students can record what their number line looks like.
- Group students
- Each group receives an activity page
- Students work together to draw and partition the number line
- Students plot the fractions
- Students record their number line on the paper provided
- Students present their number lines to the class
4. Cut & Paste – Mixed Numbers Practice Page
Fractions greater than one can be confusing when modeled on a number line. I follow the following steps:
- Count the equal parts until you get to the first whole (one).
- Label what fraction is equivalent to one. For example: 2/2 = 1
- Continue counting the equal parts. For example: 3/2
Now let’s write the fraction greater than one as a mixed number.
- Highlight the last whole number you pass. For example: 1
- Count how many equal parts you have to jump from the whole number to get to the fraction greater than one. For example: 1/2
- Write the mixed number: 1 1/2
The above printable is included in the free download (at the end of this post). I also include a version that is perfect to use for during your guided math groups. The video below shows an example of how you can review this skill with struggling students.
5. Dodecahedron Project
I start by showing my students what the final project looks like. They are immediately super interested and ready to get to work. It’s always a win when you can get students excited about a difficult topic.
- Have students complete the pages with pencil first
- Check the problems
- Allow students time to color
- Cut the circles
- Staple the circles together to form a dodecahedron
Below is an example of how one teacher displayed the final projects.
6. Interactive, Digital Math Centers
Engage students with these fun, interactive math centers. There are 2 practice files per standard. You could..
- Assign via Google Classroom
- Students can complete during math centers (desktops or iPads)
- Complete whole-group using an interactive white board
View the digital resources
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