• Janise

Understanding Fractions

Scholastics has a great introductory lesson plans to teach fractions from Grades 3-5.


There is a Pre/During and Post Instruction guide to help any teacher teach the content. This first lesson plan I will post here with a direct link to the video.


Pre-instructional Planning


Students will:

  • Recognize fractions as part of a whole and identify the numerator and denominator within this context

  • Compare fractions represented by drawings to show equivalency

  • Add and subtract simple fractions


  • Eating Fractions by Bruce McMillan or another book about fractions

  • Fractions: A StudyJams! Activity

  • 1 bag of jellybeans

  • Computer

  • TV or projector screen

During Instruction


  1. Connect your computer to a TV or projector screen.

  2. Bookmark Fractions: A StudyJams! Activity.


Step 1: Introduce the concept of fractions by reading aloud Eating Fractions or another book about fractions. Step 2: Reinforce the concept that the denominator is the total number of equal parts. Step 3: Reinforce the concept that the numerator is part of the whole group. Step 4: Spill out some jelly beans (no more than 20) onto a desk at the front of the room. Step 5: Ask a student to come up and count the total number of jelly beans. Write this number on the board and explain that it will become the denominator because it is the "whole." Step 6: Create a chart on the board listing the various colors. These will become the numerator values because they are the parts of the "whole." Step 7: Ask another student to count the total number of (any color) jelly beans out of the total. Write that number on the chart next to that color. Step 8: Continue counting the number of same-colored jelly beans until all the colors have been counted and the chart is completely filled in. Step 9: Show students how fractions can be created from this chart. Create fractions for all the colors. Step 10: Add all the numerators together to show that all the parts add up to the whole. Step 11: Play the Fractions video from the Fractions StudyJams! activity. Step 12: Split the class into groups of 3–4 students. Step 13: Pass out a handful of jelly beans to each table group. Step 14: Ask students to identify the fractions for each color. Record results in a chart. Step 15: Show the StudyJams! quiz questions (find these by clicking the green quiz button on the student activity page). Students will work in groups to answer questions together.



Use as many real world connections as possible. The book, video, and food example address needs of different learners. Working in cooperative groups helps reinforce to the concept of fractions. Advanced learners can record equivalent fractions in charts.


  • Students complete group chart.

  • Students complete group assessment.

Post Instructional


  • Was there enough time provided to complete entire lesson?

  • Did students understand the difference between numerators and denominators?

  • Did students understand the concept of fractions as showing parts of a whole?


  • Students complete video assessment in groups.

  • Use chart as an assessment tool to see if students understand that fractions are part of a whole.

I found a list of books about Math fractions that I feel will be helpful if I incorporate the new topic as "fraction week" where we read one of these books every morning to start. I can get the students excited and use the story lines to help the students learn concepts. The site below has a list of books based on topics.


I saw a lesson that had the children making fake pizza out of construction paper, with a bunch of their own toppings, cut at different shapes and sizes and for the children to exchange pieces. At the end of the exercise, the children could count how many they have in fractions.

This is a great idea but I would want to incorporate real pizza somehow. I think even mini cupcakes if they were in many different colors could also help demonstrate fractions. If the children needed a healthier option, then carrot cake can be considered or Jello.

Here is another worksheet that the students can work on after this activity to begin to test their understanding.



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