We found Lego-type blocks at the Dollar Shop!
We decided that finding fractional areas of a rectangle would be a good alternative representation, since we’ve used Cuisenaire rods so often to represent fractions.
The large brown flat has 48 studs (bumps). We asked students to fill the flat completely with smaller pieces, then draw what they’d created on a white board, and label each fractional area. We asked them to repeat if time.
As they labeled the parts, we circulated, asking how they knew what that fractional part was. Almost uniformly, they all answered with a division fact. “Because 8 goes into 48 six times, so it’s a sixth.” We tried rephrasing – “You mean that SIX of those pieces fit on the flat?” Some children actually tested it to see if 6 of the yellow pieces fit on the flat. We feel that this merits reinforcement – a yellow piece IS a sixth because six of them fit on the flat. This is one more step towards tying together the two large concepts of division and fractions.