Halving Squares: A #FractionsFebruary Activity

by Treve Brinkman, Director of Professional Learning
February 21st, 2017

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An important mathematics concept for children to learn is that all halves of the same whole are the same size. If the whole is divided into different sizes, then they are not halves. While halves of the same shape must be the same size, they do not have to be the same shape. For example, a half of an apple and a half of a watermelon will not be the same size, but they are still halves to their associated shape.

Try this halving squares activity in your classroom to allow students to apply their creativity and imagination as they explore this concept.

Draw a square on the board and ask students how you can divide the square into halves. As answers and ideas emerge, from vertical, horizontal, or diagonal, a student will most likely bring up an idea for a nontraditional looking half, such as a zigzag line.

As the lesson progresses, ask students to draw a square, and halve it. Then have them shade one of the halves. How the students halve the square will help to identify if they understand the concept of halves; how students shade the square will help identify if students understand that the halves must be the same size.

Then ask for students to work with the person sitting next to them, and work together to halve a square, other than what they and their partner already did. This should reveal some creative thinking and allow students to examine their own logic. After the pairs have completed their squares, choose a few examples to bring to the front of the class to discuss whether they halved or didn’t have their squares.

How do you introduce the concept of halves in your class? Share with us in the comments!



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