January 18, 2015

Penguin Fractions = Fraction Fun!

Fractions can be a tough concept at any grade, so I'm always looking for fun ways to teach them. A few months ago I decided to create a hands-on sorting activity, and I thought it would be fun to use penguin theme. I envisioned activity cards with penguins having fractions on their tummies, and that's what I created. I later added matching fraction bars which can be printed on the backs of the penguin fractions. Visual models are important for concept development, so being able to flip a card over and see that the fraction looks like makes them even more effective.

As usual, what started out to be a simple activity quickly exploded into a whole collection of resources! I created the sorting activity as planned, but then I started thinking of other ways to use the Penguin Fraction Activity Cards. I ended up creating several variations and sizes of the cards, too, in both black and white and color. The color cards are especially helpful if you can afford the ink because all penguin fractions of the same color have the same denominator.

Equivalent Fraction Freebie 
Would you like to try one of my Penguin Fraction lessons with your students? This Equivalent Fractions Sorting activity is a free sample lesson from Penguin Fractions: Exploring the Basics, and it comes with the penguin fraction activity cards and sorting mat you see here.

I love creating freebies for teachers, and this is just one of the many free resources I send to my email subscribers. If you'd like a copy,  just click here to get Equivalent Fractions Sorting and to sign up for my newsletter all in one step!

If you already receive my newsletter, this freebie is located on the private, members-only page called Laura's Best Freebies along with more than 75 other free resources. If you can't find it, sign up here and I'll send this freebie right over!

Penguin Fraction Resources
So far I've completed about a half dozen separate products and several bundles in my Penguin Fractions series, and I've got more planned. All of the products are aligned with Common Core State Standards for 3rd and/or 4th grade, but they can also be used for review with older kids.

One reason I'm excited about these new resources is the fantastic feedback I'm getting from teachers who have started using them. When I work on any new product, I share my early drafts with my "feedback team," a group of teachers who try the resources out with their students and let me know what works and what needs to be tweaked.

Tami Terry tried the activity with several of her classes and snapped a picture of these 4th graders testing out an early version of the benchmark sorting activity. The directions call for students to work with a partner and take turns sorting fractions into three groups: less than 1/2, equal to 1/2, or greater than 1/2. As the students work, they are encouraged to talk over the reasons for each fraction card placement. The kids loved it and it helped them understand the concept of comparing fractions to benchmarks. The final sorting board included in Penguin Fractions: Comparing and Ordering ended up looking like the one below.

Where to Find Penguin Fraction Resources
If you are creative and have time to make your own games, you can purchase the Fraction Activity Cards alone. If you would rather spend a few extra dollars and save yourself time, consider purchasing one of the ebooks or bundles which include the activity cards. Both ebooks include complete lessons as well as printable games and activities for practicing fraction skills. If you love the whole concept, you might want to purchase my Penguin Fraction Concepts Growing Bundle. I will be adding several more items to the bundle, and if you purchase it now, you'll get anything added to the bundle for free! You'll find links to all of these resources at the end of this post or by clicking the Penguin Fractions link in my TpT custom categories. Be sure to read the descriptions for each product before you make any purchase so you don't end up making duplicate purchases.

Years of Penguin Fraction Fun!
Yes, I know what you are thinking! Those penguin fraction cards are going to be a bit of work to print, laminate, and cut out. You want to print them in color, too, and color ink isn't cheap! Just remember that after you have them made, you'll be able to use them year after year. You'll be glad you invested the time and energy into creating these cards, because the penguin fraction activities will make fractions fun to teach and even more fun for your students to learn!


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