First of all, we’re glad we did this new unit. It uses Cuisenaire rods extensively.
However, it was hard! There were pitfalls and things we would do differently next time, but aren’t there always?
So, here goes.
- We started with this Toblerone lesson; always popular!! It takes 4 or 5 Toblerones. We use gloves and a tray during the Q&A demo, calling on students to answer each fractional question on the Powerpoint: Toblerone CW We break off the quantity each child says, compare it to the original 9-peak Toblerone (Just break off 9 peaks from a traditional 12-peak Toblerone and use it as your original, to compare the others to). Then we share the Toblerones out – about 2 peaks per child. Woohoo!
- Day 2 (this is new) starts with everyone working together to add fractions with Egyptian Fraction rules: CW Cuisenaire PowerPt . Then pass out the independent practice that continues with the same type problems: CW Practice Cuisenaire . This whole approach proved to be MUCH more difficult than we expected. Students either have memorized the fraction addition algorithm or they haven’t. Either way, their actual visual understanding of what fractions look like was shaky, even among our strongest students. Many were frustrated. We almost gave up! But now, several days later, the effort is paying off! So hang in there.
- Day 3 uses our Alpha-Beta-Gamma game. AlphaBetaGamma (here‘s an older post, too) Students will need Cuisenaire rods, and if possible, mini-white boards.