Planning GuideGrade 4
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Fractions and Decimals

Strand: Number
Outcomes: 8, 9, 10

Step 3: Plan for Instruction

Guiding Questions

  • What learning opportunities and experiences should I provide to promote learning of the outcomes and permit students to demonstrate their learning?
  • What teaching strategies and resources should I use?
  • How will I meet the diverse learning needs of my students?

A. Assessing Prior Knowledge and Skills

Before introducing new material, consider ways to assess and build on the students' knowledge and skills related to fractions.

Ways to Assess and Build on Prior Knowledge  Word

B. Choosing Instructional Strategies

Consider the following guidelines for teaching fraction and decimals:

  • Access the students' prior knowledge of fractions and decimals and build on this understanding.
  • Relate fractions to whole numbers. Both represent numbers or a quantity. As whole numbers increase in size so does the quantity that they represent. With fractions, there is an inverse relationship between the number of parts in a whole and the size of the parts; i.e., the greater the denominator the smaller each part of the whole.
  • To develop understanding, include everyday contexts for fractions and decimals, then use concrete representations and connect them to pictorial and symbolic representations.
  • To demonstrate understanding, have the students represent the symbolic fractions and decimals concretely and pictorially.
  • Provide many examples of the three models for fractions: part of a region, part of a length or measurement and part of a set.
  • By using examples and nonexamples, have the students construct the meaning that the denominator is the number of equal parts of a whole, all of which are the same size. The equal parts of a region must be the same size but not necessarily the same shape whereas the equal parts of a set have the same number of elements in each part.
  • Emphasize the iterative nature of a fraction by describing the bottom number (denominator) as telling what is being counted and the top number as telling what the count is (Van de Walle and Lovin 2006, p. 259). For example, focus on thirds and quarters, not on one-third and one-quarter.
  • Reinforce the relationship between the symbolic and pictorial modes (symbolic fraction name, pictorial parts, pictorial whole) by posing problems in which two of these are provided and the student determines the third by using their models (Van de Walle and Lovin 2006).
  • Emphasize the meaning of a fraction as the various ways to compare fractions are explored. Encourage flexibility in thinking as the students compare fractions.
  • Develop understanding of decimals by relating them to whole numbers and to fractions.
  • Use everyday contexts such as money or units of measurement to facilitate understanding of decimals.

C. Choosing Learning Activities

Learning Activities are examples of activities that could be used to develop student understanding of the concepts identified in Step 1.

Sample Learning Activities
Teaching the Naming and Recording Fractions for the Parts of a Region or Set Download Activities  Word
Teaching That for Different Wholes, Identical Fractions May Not Represent the Same Quantity Download Activities  Word
Comparing and Ordering Fractions Download Activities  Word
Teaching Decimals by Showing Connections to Fractions Download Activities  Word