Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

A novel way to learn fractions by making pizza


A fraction of something is easy to define, it is a bit of a larger whole. Yet, fractions in mathematics is a subject area that can be difficult for students to comprehend and even harder to work with computationally. The Jewish Academy third-grade teachers recognize this and redesigned their fraction unit to make this tough-to-understand subject easier for their students to grasp. In laying a foundation of understanding, the third-grade teacher team fashioned a hands on, physical fractions unit.

Fraction Play Stations kicked off the unit with carnival themed experiences. By introducing the vocabulary of fractions, numerators and denominators. This interactive way addressed the differing learning styles of the students.

Each carnival game allowed the students to have a certain number of attempts. The third graders then had to record how many attempts were successful. They had to create a fraction comparing successful attempts to total attempts. Using manipulatives, such as Legos and fraction tiles, as well as digital resources, the third-grade students were exposed to a tangible way of taking a whole and breaking it up into fractional parts. The students were further able to gain a better understanding of comparing parts to a whole. The "best" part was that they were also told to play with their food by breaking it up into parts during lunch!

To bring the concept of fractions to an authentic real world understanding. The students first drew pizza pies in actual pizza boxes and broke their pie into fractional parts with different toppings, writing the actual fractions on the lid of their pizza boxes. Following this, the third grade took a trip to a local Dominos for more authentic experience with fractions. During the Domino's field trip, the third-grade students were asked to create personal pizzas. They not only had to determine the fractional proportion of their toppings but also had to weigh each topping to make sure they had the exact amount for that proportion.

It is clear that the third graders have had multiple learning opportunities to develop a strong foundation of understanding fractions. This is just one example of the experiential learning opportunities students experience in math and all the subject areas at Jewish Academy.

For more information about the math curriculum and the Jewish Academy of Orlando or to arrange a visit to the school, please contact Alan Rusonik, Head of School, at arusonik@myjao.org or 407-647-0713.


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