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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fractions Lesson Incorporating Social Media, a Classroom Wiki

My second grade students have been learning how to use fractions to make equal pieces in shapes such as circles, rectangles and squares and to break sets of objects into equal groups.  To evaluate their understanding of the concept of fractions as equal pieces of a whole I will give them the task of creating a fraction story problem for their classmates to solve, to show how to solve at least two of their classmates’ fraction story problems and to post their fraction story problem and their solutions on our class wiki page.

Goals:
1.  Students will create a fraction story problem that involves using knowledge of fractions to solve a presented question.

2.  Students will solve two story fraction story problems showing their knowledge of fractions in their solution.

3.  Students will share their fraction story problem and their solutions to two of their classmates fraction story problems by posting them on our class wiki page.


Objective: To show understanding of fractions as smaller, equal parts of a whole shape or group.

Instructions:
1.  Students will solve presented fraction story problems, as a whole group, to explore examples of what fraction story problems are, and to practice using their fraction knowledge to solve them.  They will participate by solving a story problem, when the work being done is recorded and projected as the lesson is carried out.  The teacher will project and demonstrate the process of problem solving with them by using a document camera or interactive software on an interactive whiteboard.   

Sample problem:
Mary’s family gets pizza every Saturday night.  The pizza  has twelve pieces.  If Mary, her brother and her two parents want to share the pizza equally, how many pieces would each person eat?  What fraction of the pizza does each person get to eat?

Possible Solution:  Each person would eat 3 pieces which is ¼ of the pizza.  This is right because if you take 12 pieces and divide it among 4 people, then each person gets 3 pieces because 12 divided by 4 equals 3.  Since the pizza is being shared equally by four people, then each person gets 1 out of the 4 equal parts of the pizza, which is ¼ of the pizza.

2.  The teacher will guide the class in developing a fraction story problem together.  She will type it on a Google doc and project it on the interactive whiteboard.  She will show how to label it as “Whole Class Story Problem” to differentiate it from other story problems that they will make.  She will demonstrate how to make a new page on the class wiki and label it as “Whole Class Fraction Story Problem”.  Then she will show them how to copy and paste the completed story problem on to the class wiki page.

3.  Students will discuss with each other how to solve the problem and then type their answers onto a Google doc adding sentences to describe why they think the answer is correct.  The teacher will help them to copy and paste their solutions in the comment box under the class story problem.

Whole Class Story Problem (Sample)
Mrs. Sullivan made a pan of brownies for six of her students.  She cut the pan of brownies into 12 equal pieces.  How many brownies will each of the students get?

Possible Solution:
Each student would get 2 brownies because when she cuts it into 12 pieces she would pass all of the brownies out to the six kids evenly.  If she passed them one at a time to every student until there were no more brownies left, then each student would end up with 2 brownies.   This is correct because 12 divided by 6 equal 2.  .


4.  Next, the teacher will assign the students the task of writing their own story problem with the criteria being that it must be about a shape or a group that is broken into equal pieces.  They must describe a situation with a shape or group and give information about part of the shape or group and ask a question about a fraction of the shape or group.  They need to make sure they put their name on it. They must type their story problem on a Google doc.  Then go to the class “Fraction Story Problem”.  Next, they need to copy and paste their story problem on their wiki page.

5.  When they are done, they need to choose two classmates’ story problems on the wiki page to solve.  They need to write the solution and some sentences describing why they think their answer is correct in the comment box under the problem.  They should post them with their name on each one.  

6. The teacher will invite students to comment on each others’ answers to their problems, telling them if they have the solved their problem correctly or not. and giving any mathematical feedback they want to share in the comment.

7.  Finally, when all of the posts are complete, the teacher and students will look at the questions and solutions and discuss how the fraction story problems met the requirements and were successful or how any could be improved.  The students will correct the mistakes together as the discussion is carried out.

Evaluation:
1.  The teacher will use a rubric or scoring system to determine if students include all of the parts of a math story problem (important information and question); if the story problem incorporates the concept of fractions correctly; and if the students solve the fraction problems accurately.   If they complete all three of these successfully then they are showing they meet the requirements of understanding fraction story problems.

2.  The teacher will assess the need to do more practice fraction story problems together as a whole group in terms of writing them or solving them based on the performance shown in this project.  She will also assess if she needs to do more of the aforementioned practice with only particular students who did not show accuracy in their performance.

3.   In addition, she will evaluate the types of problems they  the students created to determine if she needs to give them more practice with other types of problems.  For example, they may need to practice more problems involving fractions of shapes or more involving fractions of number. She may put more of these problems on the class wiki for additional practice to do in school or for homework.  

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