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Fractions on a Number Line
Grade: 3
Subject(s): Fractions
  • String
  • Index Cards
  • Marker
  • Clothes Pins
  • Envelopes
  • Team Activity Pre-cut
  • Computer
  • Power Point
  • Individual Work (Handout)
  • Fake Pizza
  • Overview
    Students will be able to identify fractions with a denominator of 2 and 4 on a number line.
    1) The teacher will ask two students to volunteer to hold each end of a piece of string. The teacher will then add to one end of the string a 0 and at the other end a 2.
    2) Hold up a card that reads 1 and ask the students where to put this card. When they identify that the 1 goes between the 0 and the 2 then explain that this is a number line. If they do not recognize a number line with string, draw a number line on the board and see if they can identify what a number line is.
    3) After they have identified that this is a number line, show the students that we have cards with fractions on them. Show them on the board, by drawing a pie, if we are working with s how many pieces make up the total pie? They will identify that as 2. Tell them on a number line it is the same thing, we are looking at how many pieces we are separating the whole number into, not how many lines are being drawn.
    4) Ask them how many sections we need on the number line between 0 and 1. They will say two. Hold up the card and the 1 card, and tell the students to turn to their teammates and discuss for 30 seconds where these cards should be placed.
    5) Call on two of the teams to come up and place the two cards on the number line. Ask the class to use thumbs up or thumbs down to identify if the two students placed the cards correctly on the line.
    6) When they successfully place the cards, then have them do the same thing with the cards.
    7) Give them 1 minute to discuss with their team members what they notice about and 2/4 and 1 and 1 2/4 as well as 4/4, 2/2, and 1 and same with the mixed numbers of the same fractions. Call on one member of each team to explain their findings.
    8) Tell the students that they are going to do some team work now that they have seen how to put numbers on a number line. Give teams an envelope with cards in it and a number line. The cards are each a clue that is going to be used to identify a fraction that will be found on the number line. In order to identify the fraction the students must first put the cards in order. (For example...if the card says "I am a fraction" The students know this is going to be between 2 whole numbers. They must then find the card that will tell them which two whole numbers this fraction will be found between. Each card is one clue to finding the fraction the teacher is describing)
    9) Hand out the envelopes with the cards already pre-cut inside.
    10) Tell the students that they are to hand out the cards, one to each person. If there is an odd number of students, one or two people can have 2 cards.
    11) With their team, the students will read the cards that they have and one person will write on the number line as the team discusses what they think the number being described is.
    12) After about 5 minutes stop the conversation and ask one person to stand up and give the answer they believe is correct. If they do not get it correct ask another person, until someone gives the correct answer and can explain how they got that answer.
    13) The teacher will put a PowerPoint on the television to remind the students of what they just learned. This PowerPoint shows the students that they are counting the spaces between the lines, not the actual lines. It also reminds them that sometimes there is more than one name for a fraction such as and 2/4. This will take about 5 minutes
    Follow-up Activities
    1) Students will be given a handout where they need to fill in the boxes of the number line with the appropriate fraction. Remind students before they begin to count how many sections there are between whole numbers, not how many lines. Have them repeat that out loud, so they really remember not to count the lines, but in between the lines.
    2) If you notice a group of students who are really struggling. Pull that small group to a table and start over using the fake pizza's to show them that a number line is no different from a pizza, either way you split the string in 2 pieces or 4 pieces, same as the pizza.
    3) Don't forget to come back to the handout to go over it with the students.
    4) Attached is also a homework assignment to follow the lesson.
    Downloadable Worksheets
    Mac users: To download, ctrl-click on the worksheet and choose "save link to disk"
  • Team Activity in PowerPoint
  • Power Point Presentation
  • Individual Work in Power Point
  • Homework in Power Point
    Choose your standard:
    Tessa Weiss
    4th Grade Teacher
    Georgian Forest ES
    3100 Regina Drive
    Silver Spring MD 20906
    Phone: 301-460-2170 Fax:
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