How to Teach Equivalent Fractions With Math Manipulatives

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egg carton fractions ideas and freebies for teaching equivalent fractions

What Students Need to Know

As teachers, we all know our students don’t come to us with the exact same prior knowledge. More likely than not you have a student who isn’t quite sure what a fraction is, someone who can multiply and divide fractions mentally, and everything in between. While making sure to cover the standards for your grade level, teachers are also expected to fill student knowledge gaps as well as challenge students. Here’s a helpful breakdown of grade level expectations for equivalent fractions for 3rd-5th grade.

3rd Grade:

Equivalent fractions are introduced and developed.

  • Identify equivalent fractions (3.NF.3a)
  • Recognize and generate equivalent fractions; explain (3.NF.3b)
  • Recognize and write fractions equivalent to whole numbers. (3.NF.3c)

4th Grade:

Equivalent fraction skills are developed and mastered.

  • Use visuals models to recognize and generate equivalent fractions (4.NF.1)
  • Use visuals to explain why fractions are equivalent. (4.NF.1)

5th Grade:

Mastery with fraction equivalence is expected in order to solve more complex problems.

  • Rewrite fractions with unlike denominators in order to find their sum or difference. (5.NF.1)

Modeling for Students

EXPLORE | I start every lesson on fractions with hands-on exploration. As students “play” with the materials, they will become familiar and more confident. Students will be more likely to take math risks instead of defaulting to an “I can’t do math” attitude.

TALK | While students explore, walk around and ask questions like, “What fractions do you notice in your egg carton?” or list vocabulary on the whiteboard and have students talk with their partner, giving themselves a tally each time they use a vocabulary word.

MODEL | Use math manipulatives to demonstrate equivalent fractions.

Guiding Student Learning

Give students time to practice, ask questions, and share their thinking. While students are working, continue to ask questions and encourage students to talk about what they’re doing, what they notice about fractions, and how they found equivalent fractions.

Supporting Student Independence

When students have shown understanding of fraction equivalence with support from peers and teachers, they can start practicing on their own. Here are some great activities for students to work independently. Assigning a paperless self-grading assessment will save you time, give students instant feedback, and let you know how much your students have learned as well as what they need more practice with.

third grade equivalent fractions reproduces for guided math or independent practice

3rd & 4th Equivalent Fractions Activities:



How to teacher equivalent fraction using math manipulatives - 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade fractions activities. free equivalent fractions printable

Math Tech Connections

Math Tech Connections

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4 thoughts on “How to Teach Equivalent Fractions With Math Manipulatives”

  1. Are these materials that we parents can buy for our school age children ( grandchildren) if so where and how


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