Workshop Wednesday: Tricky Math

Welcome to Workshop Wednesday! Today’s topic is tricky math… how do you teach those really tough concepts in your classroom? You know the ones- fractions, multi-digit multiplication, fractions, division, fractions, decimals, fractions, word problems… did I mention fractions??? 😛 My kids always struggle with this one!!

As I may or may not have mentioned, fractions are a struggle. 😛 ESPECIALLY multiplying fractions!! But I have some strategies I teach them, and of course, I have some great products I put into my stations, including this one by my BBB, Holly:

This set is awesome- it includes a board game and task cards! We are finishing up our decimals unit right now, but I always keep previous skills in rotation in my stations. This week, my students are using the task cards and the game in their stations.

The game is a big hit! The kids love the cute monster theme. :o)

Each card requires them to figure out a fraction of a whole number. To figure out this tricky math, I teach my students what I call the “box method.” I don’t really know if that’s the correct term, but my kids know what I mean. 😛

In the box method, the “box” represents the whole number. They divide the box into the number of parts their fraction shows (the denominator). Then, they have to figure out how to “share” the whole number between all the boxes- look at this student’s work for a better understanding.

She figured out that three would go in each part to make sure the box equals 21. Then she shaded three parts (since her fraction was three-sevenths) and figured out what that shaded part would represent- 9! So she was lucky! She got to move nine spaces!!

I always have mine work out problems in games in their notebook. It gives them good practice, and helps me see what they were doing when I spot check during stations. :o)

There is one exception though… TASK CARDS. The task cards in this unit have a work space on them, so I put dry erase markers in the drawer with these and the kids LOVE it! I have never had a student only record on their task card recording sheet when dry erase markers are an option.

Check out the kiddo’s work on the right- he drew the monsters again to make his model! Now, I know what you’re thinking… they are just going to spend time drawing… but even the student who drew on the task card got them all done- and he was happy to do every one!! (For the record, he did figure out the answer was 3, but I didn’t get the picture in time before he erased!!) Sometimes, the “trick” is to let them do it their own way. :o)