Fourth grade students are expected to begin multiplication with fractions. Below is the common core standard.
4.NF.4 – Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction by a whole number.
When introducing this concept, I made sure to connect the equations to repeated addition and how the ‘x’ symbol means ‘groups of’.
Working with fractions can be confusing, so we also used lots of math manipulatives to make these equations concrete.
Don’t rush into teaching students tricks or shortcuts. It’s important to take the time and show students what these equations mean. Below is a quick activity you can use before jumping into multiplication with fractions. This activity is included in the free download at the end of this post.
Represent Fractions in Various Ways
In the above image, we looked at how we can represent a fraction in various ways.
- We can draw an area model. (4/6)
- We can then break apart the fraction into unit fractions and it still equals the same amount.
- We can write the unit fractions as a repeated addition sentence. (1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6)
- We can then take that repeated addition sentence and change it to a multiplication equation. (4 x 1/6)
Remember to Show Your Work!
If you follow me on instagram, you’ll find that I post what my daughter and I are working on for the week. She is attending virtual school, and I am her learning coach. Below are a couple of pictures I posted as we worked through the lesson.
Students can show their work by writing the unit fractions (left picture) or using math manipulatives (right picture).
Spin an Equation – Free Math Game
I created the following game to practice multiplying fractions by a whole number. It also includes fractions greater than one. Again, it’s important to show what these equations mean by either writing a repeated addition sentence, using math manipulatives, or drawing models.
The above game is included in the free download.
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