Hands On Fraction Activities

January 4, 2017

Fractions in the first grade classroom can be a CHALLENGE for sure, but I like to use a lot of hands on manipulatives and real life situations for students to see the parts and the whole of each fraction.
While CCSS only requires first graders to identify 1/2 and 1/4 of shapes, I like to teach this unit for 2 weeks and dive into fractions of a set as well. I teach fractions towards the end of the year so my students already have a solid number sense before we dive into topics like measurement, geometry, and fractions!
Before we get into the definition of a fraction, I teach about equal and not-equal parts. This is a pretty easy to understand concept for first graders if you put it into real-world terms…. like sharing a cookie.
You can bet that students want to be sure their part is equal when they are sharing something as scrumptious as this chocolate chip cookie! I pass out a bunch of these cookie cards with lines drawn on them and students have to work together to decide if the pieces are equal or not equal and sort them. If my students are struggling to see if the pieces are equal or not, I let them cut the cookies on the lines for extra visual help!


As we move into fractions of a set, we play a simple game called “Pick ‘Em!” All students need for this game is a brown paper bag and a bunch of cubes of 2 different colors. Before they begin, we will choose the color fraction we want to know – for instance, above, we picked red. Every time we pick cubes, I want to know what fraction of the cubes are red. Students close their eyes, pick out 8 cubes, write their fraction, and repeat!


While in the previous activity, students are identifying the fraction shown, here they are actually making the fraction themselves. In this activity, Students can show me the fraction of a set (as shown above) or they can choose to show me that fraction of a shape and draw that on the recording sheet!Those are a few easy-to-implement games for fractions that I hope you can use in your classroom!

I have plenty more games, printables, and ideas in my fraction unit you can find [HERE] and if you are looking for a YEAR’S WORTH of math workshop units, activities, centers, games, and detailed lessons you can find that below:


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