This post originally appeared on the blog Foundation into First.
Most folks will only think about paper plates and plastic bags when they need to pack for a picnic but of course, teachers see the world differently!
Desperate to demonstrate fraction concepts but short on funds, I thought long and hard about what I could easily cut up and manipulate so I could help my struggling students. As a class we had already cut up bread (2 loaves), paper and used blocks, however, my lower students were beginning to get confused about adding and subtracting mixed number fractions.
I used these free Fraction Task Cards for Addition and I set about cutting up paper plates into quarters, fifths, sevenths and eights which I then bagged up ready for students. Students take a task card and a paper plate and then place the number of fractions on the paper plate. Soon they will make the connection that whole numbers (or plates) are made when the maximum number of pieces fit on the plate and the remainder is then obvious.