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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Using pattern blocks to understand fractions

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From: Karen Pollard

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001060812:45:15
Subject: Fractions

	
I teach fifth grade.  I have found some wonderful books on teaching
fractions using the Creative Publications company's books.  
One idea I especially liked..was to give the small green equilateral
triangle different values.  Then draw figures made up of different
pattern blocks.  For example...draw an outline design composed of
hexagons, several rhombi, and/or parallelograms.  The directions might
be..if the value of a triangle is 1/2, what would be the value of this
drawing.  Or...if the value of a triangle is 1/3, what would be the
value of this drawing?  You might start simple, with one outline
figure alone..for instance a hexagon..and gradually increase to a more
complicated outline drawing.  The student then must fill the drawing
with those triangles to figure out the value of the shape.   
I always have my students trace the shapes onto the sheet and color
with colored pencils.  That way it's easy for them to see the
equivalencies..and it's easy for me to check and grade.  They love to
color anything too!

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