Preschool and kindergarten math - Fractions

It is beneficial if preschool and kindergarten math lessons offer opportunities for young children to develop fraction number sense.

Before children are able to do operations (adding, subtracting...) with fractions, they require lots of time for play and fraction games.

This will help them to be able to visualize fractions and understand that fraction segments are equal parts of a larger object, skills necessary for more advanced fraction concepts.

It is not necessary to teach symbols for fractions at this stage (1/2, 1/3...)

As children play fraction games they will have opportunities:

• to explore how to place equivalent shapes together to create a whole (for instance, children discover that the curved side of a pie circle segment is on the outside)
• to observe that putting a lot of equivalent segments (e.g. pie shapes) together in a certain way creates a new larger shape (a circle)
• to be introduced to fraction terms (one third, one quarter...)
• to explore and compare various shapes that are part of a whole shape
• to investigate how many of each shape makes up a whole shape (4 of the blue pie shape segments make a whole pie)

The purpose is to introduce the idea of equal sized pieces and fraction terms.

Materials:

• thin 6" paper plates
• scissors
1. Pretend that a paper plate is a pie and that you are going to share the pie between two students. Cut one piece small and the other large. Say, "Would this be a fair way to share the pie? Why?" Kids will probably say no it is not fair! Then ask. "How do we know it is not fair?" Compare the two cut plates by putting one on top of the other.
2. Say, "These pieces of pie are different sizes so the pie is not shared fairly. How can I share it fairly for 2 people?".
3. Suggest folding the paper plate in half and then cutting it on the fold line. Repeat the question. Say, "The pie pieces are now the same size. (Place one on top of the other) This piece is half a pie and this piece is half a pie. Together the two pieces make a whole pie."
4. Let the children try step 3 with their own paper plate.
5. At another time do the same activity with sharing between 4 kids.
6. Do similar activities with real food, pizza, a pie, or brownies. Start with: This is a whole ___. Let's divide it into _ pieces the same size.
Each piece is the same size and part of the whole ___.

Teach young children to sort and classify.

Purchase fraction math manipulatives and games from Amazon.