I’d probably hold a pile of real worms if it helped my kids with fractions!
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Fractions can be a challenging concept. In fact, I won’t broach the topic without something concrete because it simply doesn’t make much sense. I mean, why would a bigger number actually be a smaller number?
I’ve tried explaining it with drawings of pizza or pie. But what they need is real hands on materials.
I was inspired by Cassie’s Star Wars fraction set. I wanted an easy way to compare fractions and see why fractions work the way they do.
How to Use the Worm Fractions Set
I have two ideas on using this set. First, showing why bigger numbers are smaller fractions. The denominator is basically how many ways we are cutting the whole object. If we cut it into more pieces, the pieces will each be smaller. This is easy to see when we look at a worm divided into 6 pieces versus 4 pieces.
I think a cake would be great for this too but we didn’t have a cake ready for fraction practice.
The second use I have is to compare two fractions with different denominators. I found my kids have a tendency to just guess. “Well 3/5 sounds bigger than 3/4”. Before we learn to do the math, I like to illustrate that it’s not always easy to just tell what is bigger.
All of the worms are the same length so when we cut them into thirds or fifths we can compare them directly. I make sure to point out that not all objects cut into fractions can be compared directly. Fractions are relative, after all.