Thursday, April 19, 2012

Measurement and Fractions

Today I pulled out a worksheet from Laura Candler's website called the Giant's Ruler. I needed to work on measurement and equivalent fractions with my 6th graders. Knowing they needed some sort of manipulative, I searched through all my bins for something to use. I remember a fellow teacher building a big inch with cubes. I finally pulled out the unifix cubes and started playing with them. I figured that we could represent the Giant's Ruler with the cubes.

1.  I asked the students to get out 17 black cubes and make a tower.  They then repalced the first and last one with a green cube to represent the numbers 0 and 1.
2.  Then we discussed what would be the middle (and called it the median). They said that was 1/2 of the tower.  They replaced it with a green cube as well. 
3.  I told them to put their fingers on the first and middle green cube.  Then to find the median of that section and replace it with a yellow cube.  They did the same to find the median of the second seciton and replaced it with another yellow.
4.  Basically repeated step 3 but they placed their fingers on the green and closest yellow and found the median and replaced that cube with a purple.
5.  I passed out sentence strips and they placed the tower on the strip. Under each block they named it a fraction. Starting with the green being 0, they named the black 1/16, the purple 2/16, the next black 3/16, etc.

6. One student told me that some of the fractions had even numbers in the numerator and denominator and that we could divide them both by two. They did this until all fractions were simplified to lowest terms.
7.  I brought in the vocabulary of reduce, simplify, divide, fractions, equivalent, equal, ruler, even, half, fourth, eighths,  sixteenths, whole, simplify, denominator, numerator, median during the activity and listed them on the back of the sentence strip.
8.  When the students completed the sentence strip, we named it our "BIG" inch and they filled out the Giant's Ruler worksheet. 
9.  I gave them a piece of construction paper to describe each vocabulary word in words, pictures, or examples.  The tutor that helps our class suggested they fold the paper into sixteenths because we had discussed 16 vocabulary words.  The students did a great job of describing their vocabulary words!


  1. WOW! I can see how the foundation we start laying for our little ones helps build up to what you teach.

    I am a new follower to your blog and love getting a glimpse into those who teach the "tall ones"! I think it is so important for teachers to understand vertical alignment.

    Have you ever read any of Marilyn Burn's math picture books? They are great for older grades and are wonderful. I used them when I did my student teaching in a 4th and 5th grade class.

    I would love for you to visit me when you get the chance. =)

    Heather's Heart

  2. Heather,
    Welcome to my blog! So glad you are a new follower. I'm just getting started in blogging and may need some help. ;) I have to really break down some of our objectives to fill in the gaps some of my students have. I applaude the lower elementary teachers. I found that is not my area of expertise! I will definitely check into those books. I love incorporating books into math and science!
    Look forward to sharing ideas with you!

  3. Really great idea!! Will use this technique next year with my 5th graders.

    As for how to make a 'grab my button' for your blog, I just posted how I did it on my site.

  4. Thanks Mrs. B! I read your blog today on how to "grab my button" earlier. I am going to give it a try. I am following you now. :)

  5. Thanks for sharing... I will be trying this tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  6. I hope it went well Megan! Let me know if I can help you in any way! :)