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Make Teaching 3rd Grade Math Less Intimidating

This FREE guide is filled with helpful information, engaging ideas and relevant resources for teaching 3rd grade math.

Thinking Critically with Fractions and Number Lines

In my post Squashing Fraction Misconceptions, I talked about the advantage of building number lines with fraction bars. As an extension to that blog post, which you can find HERE, I wanted to share another fraction number line activity with you. This is a mental math strategy that makes students think critically and deepens student understanding of fractions on a number line.According to the book, Developing Essential Understanding of Rational Numbers by NCTM, using  number line models with only a few labeled points (such as 0 or 1) reinforces an understanding of relative values of numbers and elicits complex reasoning.
With this said, consider having your students participate in a math activity that I call, Name That Point.  This exercise calls for them to iterate or repeat the point out to the whole. This process helps students determine how many parts a line is divided into. Next students name the point.  Additionally, students are expected to explain how they arrived at their answers.

Check out the example below:

Fraction number line estimation
Students should write their predictions first and then compare to the correct fraction. Was their prediction correct or incorrect? Were they close or far off?
fraction number line subtraction
Extend the activity by adding in the skill of subtracting fractions to find the distance between the two estimated points.
Get your copy of these FREE math worksheets HERE. This is a great strategy to use after students are successful with building fractions using number lines.   I enjoy this exercise and hope you will try it with your class.
If you are looking for a helpful resource to teach fractions on number lines, check out my resource HERE.
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