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Counting by Halves and Fourths
Grade: 3
Subject(s): Fractions
Required products: Tool Factory Word Processor
  • Computers (one for every 2 students)
  • Printer
  • Marker/Chalk
  • White Board/Chalkboard
  • LCD Projector
  • Scissors (Optional)
  • Pencils (Optional)
  • Glue (Optional)
    Students will be able to count by halves and fourths.
    1) Have students sit in a circle in the room. Explain to them that they are going to count using fractions.
    2) Hold a marker in your hand and don't draw anything on the board. Ask the students how many pizza pies you drew on the board. They should answer none. Write a zero on the board.
    3) Now draw a pizza on the board but split it in half and erase the other half. Ask the students now how many pizza pies you drew on the board. They should answer a half of a pizza. Write a 1/2 on the board.
    4) Now draw the other half of the pizza and ask the students how many pizza pies are on the board. They should answer 1 and you write a 1 on the board.
    5) Do this now with fourths.
    6) Explain to the students that we are going to learn to count by halves and fourths today. Our final objective of the day will be to create cards using the computer so tomorrow we can put them on a number line (See link below for the Number Line follow-up lesson plan).
    7) Tell the students that we want to make sure that we know that even if we don't have a picture of the pizza, if we say we have 1/2 a pizza, we know it is referring to the picture we drew, we just have to imagine it.
    8) Explain that we are now going to go around the room and count by 1/2s until we get all the way around the room.
    Make sure to start at zero.
    9) Continue to count by 1/2s until you notice at least most of the class has grasped the idea of saying 0, 1/2, 1, 1 1/2...
    10) Do the same thing with fourths, again don't forget to start with zero.
    11) Now tell the students that we will be writing all these numbers onto cards using Tool Factory Word Processor on our computers. We will eventually be putting these onto a number line, but we will look more at that tomorrow.
    12) Have students find a partner that they work well with, or pair them up yourself.
    13) Have all students sit where they can see the computer (use an LCD projector if you have one).
    14) Open up Tool Factory Word Processor and show students the page that has been created for them to use, it has boxes already made to put their fractions in.
    15) Show students how to put their cursor right at the spot that they want to write their fraction.
    16) Also, remind students that they must make the cards in order, starting with 1/2s and then fourths, going until they reach 2 wholes. Point to the card that was made already for them (download the card worksheet below), which is 1/2. Ask students to tell you what will be written on the next card (They should answer 1 whole).
    17) Tell students that even though the directions say to put the numbers on the number line, they must wait on that until tomorrow when we go over number lines. (Your accelerated students can try this part on their own if you want)
    18) As an option if you don't have a computer and Tool Factory Word Processor, give each student enough index cards to write the numbers on. Give them two different colors, one color for halves and one color for fourths. Have the students build paper cards.
    19) Ask students if they have any questions.
    20) Allow students to go with their partner to a computer to log on and bring up the Tool Factory Word Processor page that was created for them as a guide.
    21) Circulate around the room to make sure students are comfortable with the program and supply help.

    Follow-up Activities
    On day two, the students actually put their cards on a number line. They can either put their numbers on the number line in another Tool Factory Word Processor document, which I have included in this lesson plan, or you can use a string in front of the room, as the follow up lesson describes (link below).

    When the students have completed the task above, they may print out their cards and line them up in order. Have students do a buddy check with their partner, to make sure they can count by halves and fourths. Their homework will consist of them taking their cards home and practicing counting.

    Cross-Curriculum Ideas
    In the third grade science curriculum, we talk about plant growth. Students are constantly documenting how much their plant has grown. Usually their plants only grow a quarter to a half an inch, so the students can count by fourths or halves when counting how much their plant has grown until they reach a whole inch or two whole inches.

    Downloadable Worksheets
    Mac users: To download, ctrl-click on the worksheet and choose "save link to disk"
  • Cards in Tool Factory Word Processor
  • Number Line (Optional) Tool Factory Word Processor
  • Link to Number Line Lesson Plan - Follow Up Lesson
    Tessa Weiss
    4th Grade Teacher
    Georgian Forest Elementary School
    3100 Regina Drive
    Silver Spring MD 20906
    Phone: 301-460-2170 Fax:
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