Happy New Year! Adding and Subtracting Fraction Fun!

Friday, January 15, 2016
Happy New Year and welcome back to school! It is so tough coming back from the holidays.  I just got to the point where I was able to stay up late and wake up after 9am.  Then BAM, back to the routine.  At least we had fun when we came back!
Our focus this week has been on adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators.  I first had to review equivalent fractions and mixed/improper fractions because my pre-test data revealed that my students had forgotten these concepts from fourth grade.  Out of 68 students only 5 students remembered how to solve problems related to these concepts from fourth grade.  That is too many students to small group, so I had to shut down class for a couple of days to reteach concepts.  That was last week, since we only had a three day week.  This week we focused on the new concept, adding and subtracting unlike denominators.
I really do not agree with teaching students to cross multiply to find the new common denominators and then simplify after adding and subtracting.  This method works but is not the most efficient method.  I teach students to find the least number the denominators have in common.  This reduces the chance of having to simplify after adding or subtracting.  In my opinion, finding the least common multiple is more efficient in the long run.
First we explored the concept with fraction pieces and journaled the math that went along with the manipulatives.
The next day we played Fraction Musical Mix-Up!
This is a little different then the traditional musical chairs.  I do not remove chairs and no one is ever "out".  It is more of a Dance Around, Pair Up and Solve type of musical chairs.  First, I assign every student a new name.  Their new name is on a label and it is a fraction.

Then I explain the rules.  
"I will play music and you will dance or walk around.  When the music stops you will pair up with a person nearest to you.  You will then introduce yourself using your new name.  For example, Hello I am 1/4.  Then you and your new friend will find the least common denominator of your two fractions.  I will then roll the dice, it is lands on an even number we will add the two fractions and if it is odd we will subtract the two fractions.  After a couple of minutes I will call up a pair to introduce themselves to the class and they will display their work on the white board" 

In one of my classes I had an odd number of students so we made up an imaginary friend named Bill.  I put a label on the U table next to "Bill" and students would pair up with "Bill" if they were near him.  Students tried to get the imaginary friend to be their partner, it was actually pretty funny. 

UPDATE!!! 12-29-2016 I have made this activity easy for your to reproduce in your own classroom! Check it out on my TpT store HERE!

The next day, we made SUPER SLIME!!! 
This was so much fun! 
Each step contained the process to make the slime but it was missing the measurements.  Students needed to figure out the correct measurements by solving either an addition or subtraction problem written on each step.  After they had solved the problem, they took the step and solution to me and if they are correct, I gave them the supplies they needed and the next step to work on at their desk.  
I created easier problems for students who need accommodations and more complex problems for students who needed a challenge. They loved this activity! And they were so motivated and engaged to solve the problems correctly in order to make the slime! If you would like a copy of the activity and all the questions head on over to my store on Teachers Pay Teachers and grab you a copy! Here is the direct LINK.

I did a Quick Check (6 question quiz) today to see how the students were retaining the information, and I am super excited with the outcome! Out of 68 students, only 7 students need remediation on this concept!! Activity based lessons are the key to engagement and long term memory! The more involved students are the more they take ownership in their own learning. 

Next week we will focus on multiplying fractions by a whole number.  

Until next time...
Peace Love and Math!

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