Teaching fractions in person can be quite the challenge, let alone virtually and during a pandemic! We are used to giving students manipulatives and letting them explore before teaching algorithms. The question is – how do students explore fractions virtually? Let’s get started.
3 Activities to Teach Fractions Virtually
#1 Create fraction strips with them.
If you’re like me, you do not have enough fraction pieces for all students. This does not mean that students can’t make their own set! Giving students the opportunity to make their own fraction strips allows them to explore the concept and make amazing connections.
Here is how I have students make fraction strips:
- Fold the paper in half repeatedly until there are 8 sections.
- Cut the paper along each fold.
- Take each strip and do the following:
- Color it red, label it 1 whole.
- Color it orange, fold it in half, cut it along the fold, label each piece ½.
- Color it yellow, fold it in thirds, cut along the folds, label each piece ⅓.
- Color it green, fold it in half, then half again, cut along the folds, label each piece ¼.
- Color it blue, fold it in fifths, cut along the folds, label each piece ⅕.
- Color it purple, fold it in half, then in thirds, cut along the folds, label each piece ⅙.
- Color it pink, fold it in half 3 times, cut along the folds, label each piece ⅛.
- Color it brown, fold it in half, then in fifths, cut along the folds, label each piece 1/10.
Coloring the fraction strips is optional, but it helps with the visual. This is a free(ish) way to give each student a set of fraction strips that are as close to being even as possible.
#2 Let them play with virtual manipulatives.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m a huge fan of virtual manipulatives.
I have two go-to websites for virtual manipulatives, but there are so much more! My two go-tos are toytheater.com and mathlearningcenter.org. I also love to use Geogebra for student engagement and exploration.
My suggestion is to play with one of the sites yourself and see which you prefer to help you teach fractions virtually. Introduce your students to one website at a time and give them time to explore before switching it up.
This is going to be a learning curve with your students, give yourself and your students grace. Have a growth mindset when trying these websites and if you’re finding one doesn’t work, go to another! Here is a quick video showing how I use Math Learning Center to teach equivalent fractions to my fourth graders.
#3 Digital and Interactive Study Guide
Why not let students practice with fractions while learning valuable study skills? With my digital and interactive study guides, students can do that! I created these guides to help students become independent when practicing skills at home or in school. Each study guide includes a PDF version to be printed and a Google Slides version for students to drag and drop the colors and input their answers.
My students and their parents look forward to me sending these study guides out! Parents love that they are simple to follow and give them insight into what we are learning in the classroom. Students love them because they are interactive and they get to use crayons in math! It’s a win-win.
Overall, these three resources are a great way to boost student understanding of fractions virtually. The main thing is that you let students explore the math that you want them to understand before teaching them the algorithms.
If you want to snag my digital and printable interactive study guides, head to my TpT store here and check them out!