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Everyday Fractions Activity for Upper Elementary

Rather than setting up the perfect center or assigning a worksheet, use this everyday fractions activity along with its many variations to help your students learn and identify fractions all around them.

Everyday Fractions Pin with a jar of jellybeans

Many of the concepts we teach in upper elementary are really about learning to understand what is happening around our students.

We teach measurement, and students start to see how items fit within and around each other.

We teach prefixes and affixes, and students begin to understand how language is constructed and used.

We teach fractions, and students begin to consider how things fit together or fall apart.

Using the everyday occurrences of these types of situations in our world, we can create some really fun activities for our students.

Today, we are going to expand on one of those activities.

Finding Everyday Fractions

Examples of fractions are easily found, so challenge your students to locate and document everyday fractions!

There are several ways to work with everyday fractions. Here are a few of our ideas.

Timed Search

A timed search is best used in school where you can actually time the students. 

To begin, put a timer on the board set for 2-3 minutes. Then, give students a recording sheet or ask them to get out a sheet of paper.

Challenge the students to search the room for fractions. This will want to be done quietly. Students will not want to share the fractions they find with others until it is time to do so.

Encourage students to move items, look in books, wander around, and generally interact with the classroom as they document any examples of fractions they find.

On their paper, they will write down the item and the fraction they see.

Here are some examples from the room I am currently sitting in.

  • The box of cupcakes is ⅔ full
  • The glass is ⅓ full of ice
  • ⅛ of the colors on the paper are blue

Once the timer has gone off ask students to return to their seats. Then, start listing out the found fractions on the board and have students point them out in the room.

Everyday Fractions Facebook Image with fractions in the background

Everyday Fractions Optional Variations and Ideas: 

  • To make this more of a competition, do the activities Scattegories or Boggle style, where a student can earn a point for coming up with a fraction nobody else in the room found.
  • Open the activity up to include other rooms in the school or do special themed versions like the ‘lunchroom edition’ or the ‘playground edition.’
  • Use the fractions found by students in your math lessons in the coming weeks.
  • Expand the activity outside of school and ask students to take pictures of themselves with their found fractions. 
  • Let students use video to show and discuss their findings.
  • Encourage students to set up everyday fractions around the room for others to find.
  • Turn the hidden fractions into measurement practice. Ask students to get more accurate with their fractions by introducing measurement into the mix.

The beauty of these everyday fraction activities is that they don’t take a lot of extra work to set up and play out in class. Really, the whole point is to help students be more aware of the real-world application of their learning. 

Happy Searching!

For more activities to practice fractions check out this blog post that provides even more fraction challenges and click here to access all of our fraction resources in the store.

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