Introduction: Building With Fractions: Kitchen Dilemma
I’m a 6th and 7th grade math teacher and fractions are the most challenging concepts to teach students. Math in general can be a very abstract subject and often students loose interest because they aren’t able to apply fractions within a real world context.
This project is intended for middle school students that are learning how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions.
I have tried many different projects for fractions. One year, I had my students design community gardens that were in different fractional parts. Another year, I had my students create a cooking show video. With these two projects students understood fractional parts, but didn’t understand how adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions came into play.
My partner and I live in a really old apartment that has a kitchen with no counter space. One day we decided to build a table for our kitchen. While building the table, we had to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. I thought, “what a great math project this would be.”
That day I began to put together a series of lessons that incorporated my “kitchen dilemma.” I told my students the story about my kitchen and showed them pictures. I asked them how I could solve this problem of not having any counter space. My students started to brainstorm. They shared many ideas until one student yelled out “what about building your own counters.” That was my opportunity to hook the students into this project. I quickly responded, “what a great idea. Let’s do just that.” I asked them what they thought might be necessary to know about building a table. We looked at blueprints and watched videos. The students came up with many topics, including fractions. That was my opportunity to engage them in learning fractions. I then proceeded to teach them how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions.
SEE ATTACHED FILE FOR LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Step 1: Student Project Sheet
Attached is a student project sheet that outlines the project for the students.
The red notes are for the teacher. It describes the mathematical concept being covered in each step.
Please feel free to use this project sheet as a template to create your own based on your classroom needs.
Step 2: Adding and Subtracting Fractions
Attached are different lessons along with student worksheets that walk students through an exploration of adding and subtracting fractions. These lessons incorporate the theme of table construction as well as help students develop strategies for adding and subtracting fractions.
You may use these lessons, or implement your own lessons on adding and subtracting fractions.
Step 3: Multiplying and Dividing Fractions
After you have covered adding and subtracting fractions. Introduce your students to multiplying and dividing fractions.
The lesson attached continue with the theme of building a table and include student worksheets. Again, you may incorporate these lessons and student worksheets or implement your own.
Step 4: Table Construction
Now, students are ready to build their table.
Attached is a student worksheet that walks them through the process of building their table.
Equations are not provided for the students to allow room for problem solving and critical thinking.
You may use this Table Construction worksheet as a template to create your own.