May 13, 2019

Teaching Tip: Use Pool Noodles to Teach Fractions

Teaching Tip: Use Pool Noodles to Teach Fractions

Are you teaching your students fractions and finding it difficult? This concept has made me want to bang my head against the wall as some students just weren't getting it! Then I tried something new. 

Try this Teaching Tip: Use Pool Noodles to Teach Fractions.

The Problem...


My students usually do not have a problem understanding basic fractions, like coloring in one piece of a circle to show one-fourth. They do, however, struggle with comparing fractions with different denominators and I don't blame them! It's a tough concept! 

Think about it! For years you have been told that five is greater than four. Now your teacher is trying to tell you that one-fourth is greater than one-fifth. They can still see a four and a five. Understand why a student may struggle?

Visually the students can see the four and five and just assume the five is bigger, no matter where it is in the problem.

The Solution...


If you have a dollar store nearby, stock up on pool noodles (in different colors)! Keep one pool noodle the way it comes. This is your one whole. It will be the one that all other pool noodles are compared to. 

Now think about the main fractions you will use in class. This will depend on the amount of colors that you are able to get. Cut the other pool noodles into pieces based on these fractions. Having the different colors will make it easier to identify as well as compare and contrast fractions. I would still label the fractions even though they are different colors. 

Since using these in my classroom, I've noticed a HUGE improvement in my students' ability to compare fractions with different denominators. Having a visual really makes a difference.

Side Note: I had to go to a few different dollar stores to get a variety of colors. Since taking this picture, I was able to add pink and orange. Now we have pieces for one whole, halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, and sixths.

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Using math manipulatives helps students to better understand different concepts. Fractions are a particularly difficult concept to teach. This blog post shares how to use pool noodles to create a set of manipulatives to better teach your students how to understand fractions. This is especially useful in helping students visualize different denominators. #confessionsofafrazzledteacher #fractions #handsonmanipulatives {Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Students}

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