Equivalent Fractions, Decimals and Percents

Thursday, July 12, 2018 No comments
Students in sixth grade should be familiar with converting fractions to decimals and vice versa. (I know, I know, the operative words are "should be") So the first thing that I did was remind students that fractions are decimals and decimals are fractions. We discussed benchmark fractions (1/2, 1/4 etc) and used those as well. 
Afterwards we moved onto percents. I asked students to brainstorm where they have seen percents. Students said a variety of places, like shopping, coupons etc. Then I asked more specifically about 50% and what 50% meant to them. To my surprise the students had wonderful real world situations to retell. One student said 50% meant halfway because when he looks at his battery life on his cell phone or laptop, and he knows that his battery is half full. Another student recalled downloading an update on his PS4. He knows that when the update says 50% that the download is halfway done. The common word "half" kept being said. So that allowed me to bridge right over to what fraction is a half? and then what decimal is a half? Students then discovered that 50% = 1/2 = 0.50. Using this discovery we talked about other fractions and decimals. Students quickly connected other percents to fractions and decimals. This was a great discovery approach that allowed students to construct their own meaning while I facilitated the process. We made generalizations together on how to convert between fractions, decimals and percents and recorded those in our journals.
The next day we moved onto a scavenger hunt that I made that allowed students to work in partners to convert between fractions, decimals and percents.

If you have never used a scavenger hunt, here is how it works. You post papers around the room, and the papers have problems on them. The student reads the problem, or scans the problem and solves it. Students then look around the room to find the answer. This offers immediate feedback, because if they are incorrect, then they will not be able to find their answer or next problem to solve. I usually do hunts in pairs but you could do it individually if needed. Here is my percent scavenger hunt

One of my favorite things to do is give kids a hundreds grid and allow them to make an artistic picture and then label the picture with a fraction and decimal that represents each color used in the drawing. I have done this in 5th before so I thought, what if I turn that into a digital art project and incorporate percents too! So that is just what I did! I made a digital hundreds grid that allows students to use colors to create an artistic picture and then they figure out each color's percent, decimal and fraction. You should see some of the amazing pieces of art that my students created! They loved this activity! Here is the Art of the Percent! 



The last thing that we did was PERCENT TO WIN IT! This activity is a play on Minute to Win It game show that has contestants doing challenges within a minute! Students completed a series of events and then calculated the percent, fraction and decimals of their outcome. They had an absolute blast completing these challenges!

Percent to Win It! can be found on my TpT store or by clicking HERE!

We also spent time on the percent proportion and finding unknown parts of the percent proportion. I outlined guided instruction using technology here in this product then reinforced it with another scavenger hunt found HERE.  I also made an extra practice sheet that students used before a test. You can access it here for FREE! 

Lastly we did a Google Project about Fractions, Percents and Decimals as well as a Google Project on the Percent Proportion.  And to finish off our unit we completed PRESS START! a Digital Breakout! that focuses on percents, fractions and decimals.  

If you are an Instagram user, follow me @themathchick5 
I love to see my lessons and activities in action, so feel free to tag me! 

Until Next Time! 
Peace, Love, Math! 

Ratios, Proportions, and Rates! Oh My!

Friday, July 6, 2018 2 comments
This was my absolute favorite thing to teach in sixth grade! You could do so much with this unit! Especially with food :) Everything is better with food right??

Before I started teaching I made a Ratio Graffiti Wall in the hall! I had seen something similar on Instagram and knew I wanted to try it!

I used velcro dots to secure markers on the wall. I kept this up the entire time I was teaching this unit and the kids wrote on the wall and took time to read what others had written. It was an awesome way to bring ratios to life! I wish I would have taken a picture of it before I took it down. Life sometimes gets in the way and you forget :( You will just have to take my word for it! Here are the signs posted if you want to re-create this: Ratio Graffiti Wall

As an introduction we used Lucky Charms cereal to look at ratios, with marshmallows and oat cereal.  If you think sixth graders are too old for counting and sorting cereal you are sadly mistaken! They loved it! Kids want to be kids and sorting out food is fun, even for t'weens!


I gave each student their own bag of lucky charms, so that germs were not an issue. Students learned about part to whole ratios and part to part ratios. Students even drew models to represent ratios seen in the bag of cereal. I have this activity in my TpT store and it includes the brand new unicorn marshmallows! Lucky Ratios- A Hands-On Introduction to Ratios TEKS 6.4B 6.4E RATIOS ONLY

Next we put our knowledge to the test in a STEM challenge! I love to integrate STEM whenever possible! It was October and I knew I wanted to use catapults, because kids love to flick stuff across the room, right?! I saw pumpkin candies and knew right away that these would be fun to flick! And did you know that people flick real pumpkins in a contest every year??  That is right, it is called Pumpkin Chunkin'.  This was my inspiration!
I used plastic spoons, popsicle sticks, rubber bands and an empty aluminum can. (Since I am addicted to La Qroix, I had a bunch of cans on hand :) I put all of these supplies out and told the students that they had 10 minutes to create their catapult. Using any and all of the supplies. Students worked through and problem solved to create their catapults.

After time was up and their catapults were made, they worked through the stations to test their catapults, using ratios of course! There was a tower test, distance test and an accuracy test. Students had an absolute blast and practiced ratios in a meaningful, real world way! You can get your copy FREE here! Pumpkin Chunkin STEM


We moved onto Unit Rates.  Unit rates was a new concept for me and I wanted to make it about real life shopping experiences. When I go grocery shopping with my husband, he always looks at unit rates. I usually go for price and he always goes for the best unit rate. So I made an activity called Would You Rather? It has real life, shopping experiences and goes through unit rates step by step. This is great for me, because it was new to me, so the guided notes section was so valuable to my success in teaching this concept.

After guided instruction, students were given 16 QR code task cards to determine and practice unit rates! You can get your hands on this activity here: Would You Rather? - An Intro to Unit Rates TEKS 6.4D 6.5A

I was running short on time, the dreaded assessment calendar for assessments and benchmarks was close by so I did not do this activity as full out as I wanted. I introduced proportions using pancakes! If I had time to do it all over again, I would have made a room transformation to emulate an IHOP! I would have invited parents to help me prepare the pancakes and used my activity as a way to introduce proportions.  This would have been amazing! So feel free to take my idea! I did the activity and the kids understood and did not realize that I could have done a room transformation, so they did not realize what they were missing :) Here is the link: Powerful Pancake Proportions TEKS 6.5A 6.6A

Oh my gosh, I feel like I am going on forever here! But I love this unit! I will wrap it up with a few other of my fun lessons! 

I taught measurement conversions with World Record Conversions, this was so fun, and you can look up the actual world record and make the math come to life! 

At the end of the unit we did another one of my favorite things! A Digital Breakout! 

I hope you enjoy this unit as much as I did! Please comment if you use any of these! I would love to hear how much your kids enjoyed them! 

Until Next Time! 
Peace, Love, Math

Multiplying Fractions - When multiplying doesn't lead to bigger products

Friday, June 29, 2018 No comments
One of the biggest mistakes we make as teachers is making generalizations about math and teaching our students about them. For instance, I have had kids tell me, "I know we are going to multiply in this problem because the answers are bigger", or "I know we divide because the answer is smaller" or when students say "I have to always put the bigger number on top when we subtract" These statements have been taught to these students throughout their years.
In some instances these are correct statements, but they are generalizations that are not always true. Later on they will subtract a greater number from a smaller number resulting in a negative number. In my case I saw all of these generalizations when I taught sixth grade. As their teacher, I had to go back and change their thinking and prove to them that the generalizations were not always true and show examples as to when they were not true.
Multiplying fractions was one of the generalizations I had to conquer. In Texas, there is a standard that explicitly states for students to compare the product to the factors. This was a standard that I spent some time on even though it was a supporting standard. I feel like the supporting standards are just as important as the readiness standards because they lay the foundation for deeper, rigorous, and more meaningful operations.  I prepared an activity that allowed students to activate prior knowledge (from fifth grade) to construct new meaning and form a new generalization about multiplying and finding the products.
In fifth grade, students multiplied whole numbers by fractions and vice versa, using models and repeated addition. This laid the foundation for what the sixth graders would be exploring.  Students really took the time to analyze how the factors were related to the product.

* For instance, a whole number multiplied by a fraction less than one whole will result in a product that is less than the whole number factor used in the original problem.  5 x 1/4 < 5
* On the other hand, a whole number multiplied by a fraction more than a whole, will result in a product that is greater than the whole number factor used in the original problem. 5 x 6/4 > 5
* Finally, a whole number multiplied by a fraction equal to one whole will result in a product congruent or equal to the whole number used in the original problem.  5 x 4/4 = 5

Allowing students to fully explore these outcomes and come up with their own generalizations, gives students ownership for their own learning. Students came up with their own predictions and then tested those predictions and were validated with the results.

Students completed a sort while applying what they learned with a partner. This allows students to interpret what they have learned while applying it in a true or false situation. Students use QR codes to receive immediate feedback. Afterwards students completed a coloring sheet as homework/exit slip. 

You can get your hands on this activity, which includes, guided instruction and exploration, true/false sort and coloring sheet, right HERE on my TpT store

After this lesson we moved onto the algorithm for multiplying fractions.  This is a huge standard and could be a fraction times a fraction, fraction times a mixed or a mixed times a mixed. We used one of my free TpT games, called Super Six to help us practice! Students loved the game and you can get it for FREE!!! Right HERE! 

Here are some other products that worked wonders in my classroom to help me teach 6.3E Multiply and Divide Rational Numbers! 

Until next time! 
Peace, Love, Math

Integer Operations- From Chips to Number Lines and Beyond!

Saturday, June 23, 2018 No comments
So this was my first time teaching integers, and I had to learn a lot! I relied on YouTube and watched videos on how to teach integer operations with chips and number lines. Our standards specifically say that students should recognize the models when adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing integers. If you are anything like me or I guess I should say as old as me, you were taught the algorithm instead of how to perform the operation with a model. Why is a negative times a negative a positive? I had no clue, but I had been taught that, so that is what I did. So because of that, I needed to research how to show students the operation using a model and I am so happy that I did! This research helped me to understand the why behind integer operations so that I could teach my students the why behind the operations.
I modeled the operations with chips and number lines.  I only modeled the operation instead of teaching the students rules, algorithms or tricks.  I allowed the students to come up with those rules while working with the chips and number lines. Then as a class we tested their predictions and theories. Students came up to the document camera and led the class while completing examples.

After the students felt comfortable with using the chips and/or number line I assigned a stop motion project using Google Slides. Yep you read that right! Stop Motion Videos using Google Slides. I gave students directions and a rubric to create their own stop motion video. Here is the link to the PDF, for FREE! >>>>> Stop Motion Integer Project <<<<<<<
Here are a couple examples of students stop motion videos! They turned out amazing!

The students loved making these stop motion videos! Afterwards, we completed more activities centered around integer operations. These activities were awesome and can be found on my TpT store:

I especially loved the Digital Breakout! Have you used digital breakouts in your classroom yet? 

Until next time! 
Peace, Love and Math