Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fruity fractions!

My mom's way of teaching fractions made me think a little more and come up with this:

Make 3-4 groups of 4-5 kids each. Ask a question. Whichever group solves it first, gets an apple. Whichever group solves it second, gets a guava. Whichever group solves it third, gets a chickoo. And so on. Kids in one group have to share one fruit. Let them cut it and share it. Let them discover what happened when they cut one whole fruit into pieces.

In a group of four, 1 apple cut into 4 pieces would give every kid 1 piece out of those 4 pieces. That is, 1/4.

Let them rejoin the cut pieces and make the original fruit, until they understand that 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 = 1.

Finally, let them eat the fruit! Keep supplying fresh fruits until they learn well. No harm in eating lots of fruits.

Next level would be to have different number of kids in different groups, so that different fractions come up for each group. Kids will understand that more kids in one group => less fruit per head. Hence they will also learn inequalities like 1/4 > 1/5.

Next level would be to have the same fruit for every group. Let them cut and share it withing a group. Let them bring together all pieces. Let them count the pieces. Let them add the pieces and learn about fractions greater than 1!

In each level, one can teach subtraction whenever some kids eat some pieces.

The game can be easily extended further for explaining many more concepts having fractions. One may use chocolates which have markings for breaking into pieces. One may use paper cards, if eatables become too messy. But starting with shiny fresh fruits is always an attractive activity for most kids.