An Easy Way to Understand Fractions – with video tutorials that make sense.

Why I Wrote This Post

I want to help parents and their children work together to understand Fractions.  I have created a set of seven Video-Posts that will take parents and their children through a step-by-step process that gives them a concrete understanding of fractions.  By using these posts and doing the activities with your child, you will develop a deeper understanding of fractions, and ensure success for your child as he or she goes through his or her academic career in mathematics.

Seven Video-Posts
  1. An Introduction to Illustrating Fractions
  2. Adding Fractions with Common Denominators
  3. Subtracting Fractions with Common Denominators
  4. Adding Fractions with Unlike Denominators
  5. Subtracting Fractions with Unlike Denominators
  6. Adding Mixed Numbers
  7. Subtracting Mixed Numbers

 

An Introduction to Illustrating Fractions

Fractions tend to be very abstract.  Because of this, children often have a very hard time understanding what in the world is happening with fractions.  In this first Video-Post, I will demonstrate how to break a whole into parts.  This may seem like a very basic concept, but it is essential to understanding fractions.  I encourage you to take the time to do all the activities with your child before moving on to more advanced Video-Posts.  Each video tutorial will build upon what was taught in the last.

How to use these Video-Posts

These Video-Post are designed in a similar manner to how I teach a concept in my class.  First, children will be introduced to a concept with a “WATCH ME” demonstration video.  Next, children continue developing their skills by working side-by-side with me.  They are given a problem and work through that problem, while they watch the “WORK WITH ME” video.  Finally, children perfect their skills by completing problems by themselves.  Then they will watch the “ON YOUR OWN” videos.  These last videos encourage the child’s independent work, and then review the problem making sure that the child gains understanding.

Challenge 1

Puppy in a Seatbelt

1.1- Watch Me

You and your mother bake a pan of brownies.  You to cut the pan of brownies into 1/6 parts, because they will to six people at your grandmother’s birthday party.  You load the brownies into the car.  Then, you buckle your puppy next to the brownies.  You think your puppy is buckled tight, but you are wrong!  When you look back, you see that your puppy has escaped.  He is eating some of the brownies.

There is only 4/6 of the pan of brownies left.  Can you illustrate how much is left?

This one is easy.  Click on the link below to watch how the pan of brownies should be cut and then colored.  Pay close attention.  Your next challenge will be very similar to this one.

 Challenge 2

Pizza Stealing Ram

1.2 – Work with Me

You live in a mountain cabin.  Once a month, your dad drives into town and buys a pizza for you and your mom.  He cuts the pan of pizza into 1/3 parts, because there are three of you eating the pizza.  You all go to the bathroom to wash up for dinner when you hear the front door burst open.  The sound of hooves clip-clop on the kitchen floor.  Your whole family runs into the kitchen and sees a full-grown ram eating part of your pizza.

There is only 2/3 of the pan of pizza left.  Can you illustrate how much is left?

This one is a little harder.

Your Challenge

Gather the following materials:

  1. A blank piece of paper
  2. A pencil
  3. Crayons, or a highlighter

Watch and complete this challenge with me.  I will take you through a step-by-step process.  Together, we will solve this problem.

Pay close attention.  Your next challenge will be very similar to this one.

 

Challenge 3

Party Crashing Cow

1.3 – On Your Own

You are celebrating a birthday, so your parents buy a beautiful cake for your party.  All together there are nine people at the party, so your parents cut the cake into 1/9 parts.  You and your friends are climbing the big oak tree in your back yard.  You see the neighbor’s cow leading her baby toward the picnic table.  Your cake is sitting on the picnic table.  It’s far too tempting for the cows.  Before anyone can stop them, the mother cow eats a mouthful, and the baby cow eats a nibble or two.

There is only 5/9 of the cake left.  Can you illustrate how much is left?

Your Challenge

This one is the hardest.
Gather the following materials:

  1. A blank piece of paper
  2. A pencil
  3. Crayons, or a highlighter

Now:

  1. Draw a large square on the paper.
  2. Cut the square into the appropriate fraction pieces, and color in the correct number of parts.

 

Don’t worry if you make a mistake – Some of our biggest leaps in learning come when we make a mistake then see what we did wrong and fix it.

Once you have completed this challenge, click the link below:
Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.
If you make a mistake, pause the video and fix your mistake.
That’s the fastest way to learn!

 

 Challenge 4

Lasagna Loving Moose

1.4 – On Your Own

It’s been a long day of raking leaves and cleaning the back yard.  The good news is that your mother has made you your favorite dish for dinner.  It’s a cheesy pan of lasagna, and it is waiting for you to dig in and chow down.  You can’t wait.  There are seven people at your house for dinner, so your mother cuts the lasagna into 1/7 parts, and sets the dish on your dining room table.

Meanwhile, a young moose has escaped from the zoo.  He is about 3-years old with a new set of antlers.  The moose enters your yard, walks up the steps of your back deck, and enters your dinning room.  He sees the pan of lasagna sitting on the table, dips his head, and begins to munch.

By the time your father can scare him away, the moose has eaten all but 3/7 of the lasagna.  Can you illustrate how much is left?

Your Challenge

This one is the hardest.
Gather the following materials:

  1. A blank piece of paper
  2. A pencil
  3. Crayons, or a highlighter

Now:

  1. Draw a large square on the paper.
  2. Cut the square into the appropriate fraction pieces, and color in the correct number of parts.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake – Some of our biggest leaps in learning come when we make a mistake then see what we did wrong and fix it.

Once you have completed this challenge, click the link below:
Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.
If you make a mistake, pause the video and fix your mistake.
That’s the fastest way to learn!

Pay close attention.  Your next challenge will be very similar to this one.

 

 Challenge 5

Pigging Out Pigs

1.5 – On Your Own

Your grandmother loves to bake bread.  She has just baked a large loaf and the wonderful smell fills your entire kitchen.  There are fifteen aunts, uncles, and cousins at your grandmother house, so your grandmother cuts the loaf into 1/15 parts.  She places the loaf on the kitchen counter and walks into the living room to chat with you and all your relatives.

As your grandmother leave the kitchen, two mother pigs and their piglets sneak in.  There’s a chair next to the counter, and one of the mother pigs uses it to climb onto the counter.  She knocks the loaf to the floor and all the pigs start pigging out.

Before your grandmother can shoo the the pigs away, the pigs have eaten all but 13/15 of the loaf of bread.  Can you illustrate how much is left?

Your Challenge

This one is the hardest.
Gather the following materials:

  1. A blank piece of paper
  2. A pencil
  3. Crayons, or a highlighter

Now:

  1. Draw a large square on the paper.
  2. Cut the square into the appropriate fraction pieces, and color in the correct number of parts.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake – Some of our biggest leaps in learning come when we make a mistake then see what we did wrong and fix it.

Once you have completed this challenge, click the link below:
Keep your paper with you while you watch the video.
If you make a mistake, pause the video and fix your mistake.
That’s the fastest way to learn!

Pay close attention.  Your next challenge will be in the Video-Post entitled, Adding Fractions with Common Denominators.  The concept builds from this one, so it is important that you understand how to illustrate fractions.

Want more Tutorials?

I’ve created an Educational Fantasy Game called, TeachersDungeon.  It is set to the Common Core Educational Standards, and is web-based, so it can be played on any device.  Many of the questions are accompanied by tutorials like the ones you saw here.

Novels by Brian McCoy –

RED – an Action & Adventure Novel intended for readers in Middle School

 

 

My Adventures with ChickenSpike – A Children’s Fantasy Book intended for readers in 2nd through 4th

 

 

Let me know if there is any way I can help!

Until next time…

Have a great day – Brian McCoy

5 Comments on “An Easy Way to Understand Fractions – with video tutorials that make sense.

  1. Hi Mr. McCoy –
    This is Great!
    It really helped me understand fractions better.
    You have amazing strategies. That is why I am glad that you are my teacher. ‍

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *