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Year 3 Maths Lessons – Fractions

Lesson 1: What is a fraction?

Mathematical purpose & objective
 Model and represent unit fractions including 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, 1/5 and their multiples to a
complete whole (ACMNA058) (SCSA, n.d.)
 Students will recognise fractions as being part of a whole, and construct paper
models to enhance their understanding of wholes (1), ½, 1/3, ¼ and 1/5 and their

 Whiteboard/blackboard, coloured paper (strips and/or circles and rectangles), play
dough (preferably 5 different colours), pop-sticks, students’’ maths workbooks

 Students are sitting on the mat and are drawn to the sentence “A fraction is…” on the
board. Ask students to suggest possible endings to the sentence and write them
around the board. Add to students’ suggestions: “fractions are used when we count a
part of something. They tell us how many parts of a whole there are.”
 Explain using visual aids: “For example, we know this is a square,” (draw on board)
“but what if we wanted to know how much this part of the square is?” (shade ¼) “We
use fractions to figure this out.”

 Use 5 different, equally sized balls of play dough (preferably each a different colour).
Break these down differently in front of students – one ball left as a whole (1), one
ball in halves, one in quarters, one in thirds and leave the last ball un touched (for
students to have a go dividing into fifths).
 Using the pop-sticks and a piece of paper, stick a “sign” in each different sized play
dough ball, labelling it as either being 1, ½, ¼ and 1/3. Review the different play
dough partitions and their sizes “What do you notice about how the sizes of the play
dough balls change?” and ask children “What do you think fifths would look like?”
“what size do you think the play dough balls will be? Show me with your hands.” a
student volunteer will make it out of the last play dough ball and labelling with the
“1/5” pop-stick.

Main body of lesson

 Students return to their desks and are given coloured strips of paper. Students are
asked to cut each strip into different fractions and glue and label these in their maths
workbooks – strips of 1 whole, halves, thirds, quarters, fifths. (model this process
 Advanced students may experiment making other fractions after finishing – eights,
sixths, tenths – or the may chose to represent the same fractions of paper circles
also. Students may also be given one-on-one of group assistance if experiencing
difficulty, with the teacher giving step-by-step instructions.
 Teacher makes observations of children’s independent progression throughout the
activity and collect workbooks after completion.

 Ask certain students to share their work with the rest of the class. “How many
halves/quarters/thirds/fifths make a whole?” “Which fraction is the largest? Which is
the smallest?”
 Teacher make note of students who still have difficulty answering these questions.
Lesson 2: What do fractions look like?
Mathematical purpose & objective
 Model and represent unit fractions including 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, 1/5 and their multiples to a
complete whole (ACMNA058) (SCSA, n.d.)
 Students will create visual representations of fractions and connect them to their
written and symbolic form.

 Smart board, fraction cards (for grouping), dice, workbooks, fraction bingo cards

 Children are on the mat and revise previous lesson. “What is a fraction? What is a
half? A quarter? A third? A fifth?”
 Watch:
 Pause when the fractions first appear and ask children to name it. Pause when
fractions are expressed in writing and in symbolic form “Has anyone seen fractions
written using numbers before? This is what we are looking at today.” Pause after
description of symbolic representation and repeat/explain to students “the top
number is the number of pieces of the whole you have, and the bottom number is the
number of pieces that make up the whole”. Watch until end and discuss further as a
class/answer student questions.
 Write fractions ½, ¼, 1/3, and 1/5 symbolically as a class on the board, asking “how
many pieces do we have? How many pieces in the whole all together?” while writing.

 Hand fraction cards out to each student (each with a fraction depicted on it).
Students with matching fraction cards form a group and answer the questions: what
fraction does your piece represent? How many of these pieces are needed to make a
whole? What does it look like in symbolic form? First discuss in groups and then
share with the class.
 Teacher make observations of students’ collaboration, reasoning and responses.

Main body of lesson

 Children separate from group and are given a dice each. Students roll the dice twice
– the first roll will give a numerator, the second will give the denominator. Children
will write their rolled fraction’s name and symbol, and then draw a picture (teacher
models the process first). Stronger students work independently, weaker students
work in pairs and/or with teacher assistance.
 Teachers observe activity and collect workbooks.
 Hand out fraction bingo cards (consisting of squares with fractions in symbolic form).
Play as a class (weaker students play with a partner, advanced may have various
representation of fractions on their bingo card).
Lesson 3: How do we count fractions?
Mathematical purpose & objective
 Model and represent unit fractions including 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, 1/5 and their multiples to a
complete whole (ACMNA058) (SCSA, n.d.)
 Students will identify and count fractions on a number line.

 Smart board, chalk, dice

 Introduce number lines using the video:
 Start at 28 seconds, immediately pause and compare “whole” strip and 0-1 on the
number line. Start again and stop at 32 seconds to explain the representation of
halves. Ask the students to imagine themselves jumping along the number line in
halves, starting at 0 and draw where they’d land each time on the board. “If you kept
jumping past 1/one whole, where would your next jump land?” “How do we say and
write this number?” “What do you call these numbers with a whole number and a
fraction?”. Pause the video at 37 seconds, 40 seconds and 44 seconds and repeat
for thirds, quarters and fifths.
 Precede to 1:01 and complete the 5 quiz questions as a class, pausing at each

Main body of lesson

 Move students outside to chalk-draw number lines on pavement (one in halves,
quarters, sixths, thirds, fifths and tenths). Children will be in mixed ability groups and
rotate through the different number lines. Children take turns rolling the dice, moving
that number of spaces forward on the number line, and counting in their fractional
increments with each jump they take. Advanced students may roll and count
backwards when they reach the end of the number line, whilst weaker students may
start back from the beginning. Challenge: take number off the number line.
 The teacher may remain at a set station, observing children’s counting as they pass
through. They may also go between groups observing and assisting where

“What did you find easy/fun?” “Which fractions did you find hard to count?”. Children play a
game of “Buzz”. Going around in a circle, students skip count by a particular fraction (that
they need practice with); whenever a whole number appears, students say “Buzz” instead of
the number. (Students are not eliminated).