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3 Fraction Challenges for Upper Elementary

Teaching fractions just got a whole lot more exciting with these three fraction challenges for students.

Rather than teaching fractions in worksheets or on the whiteboard, use some of these challenges to get students to use and model fractions in creative ways. In the Find a Fraction Challenge students will find fractions in everyday life, and in the Create an Episode Fraction Challenge, students get creative as they teach others about fractions through story. Lastly, practice fractions while playing some of your favorite review games (with a twist).

Fraction Challenge #1: Fraction Find

Fractions are awesome because they are so applicable. Fractions are everywhere, and you don’t have to look very far to find a few examples just ‘lying’ around

For example, as I sit here writing this, I am looking at a table with two water bottles on it. One is about ⅕ full and the other is about ⅓ full. If I combine both of these bottles of water, how much would I have? 

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

Give students a specific amount of time to search the classroom, school, or their homes for examples of fractions. When they find one, they will label it and take a picture. They can also take a video of themselves explaining what they found.

If your students are struggling, do a little prep work as a group. Encourage other students to set up ‘every day’ fractions around the room for other students to find.

These photos and videos can then be combined into a class video or students can post them to a class social media account.

Need a little inspiration? Here are some everyday fractions I can see from where I am sitting.

  • A glass of water that is 1/5 full.
  • A table with 2/6 of the chairs pushed in.
  • 1/3 of the pillows on the couch are white.
  • 5/12 of the picture frames are red.
  • 3/22 of the birthdays are in November
  • 4/9 of the toys are turned upside down
  • 1/4 of the dice are being used

Fraction Challenge #2: Create Mock TV Episodes Featuring Fractions

Lots of kids are learning through online platforms and TV shows these days. Just as their parents may have learned letters and numbers from watching Sesame Street, little kids today are learning math and reading from shows like UmiZoomi, Numberblocks, and Blues Clues

Challenge your students to create their own TV show episodes featuring fractions. 

Give each group or student a series of fraction task cards like the ones found in this activity, and challenge them to feature the task found on the card in their episode. Encourage them to get creative with their characters, costumes, and challenges.

These educational shows typically find math problems (and solutions) in everyday situations, and they solve them by explaining how the math works, so encourage students to really think through HOW their problems can be explained to someone who may not understand how fractions work.

Creating an educational episode is awesome for learning storytelling, plot lines,  as well as practicing and explaining the fractions that are featured, so consider using this challenge to combine elements of math and ELA together!

Watch some of the shows I listed above for inspiration!

Fraction Challenge #3: Fraction Game Show (With a Twist)

Here at Fun in 5th Grade, we have Game Shows for practicing and reviewing all kinds of things not just fractions. Several different Game Show activities are featured in the images below. Click on them to learn more about each one!

math center ideas for upper elementary

These Game Show resources are pretty stellar by themselves, but this post isn’t about game shows, it is about fractions, and that is where the ‘Twist’ comes in. 

Usually, when playing these games students ask for a category and an amount in hundreds, but when we are practicing understanding fractions, students will have to get a little more creative. Now, if they want to pick a category and a question, they will have to ask using fractions. 

For example, “I want the category ⅗ of the way over from the left, and I want the question that is 1/10 of 1000.” Another example could be “I would like the category that is three-fifteenths from the right side and the question that is two-thirds of 600.”

To set up this activity, put students in groups and give them some time to formulate some different fractions to use as explanations. The first time, they may use a lot of fifths, but challenge them to not use the same denominators more than once, to only use a fraction once, or maybe even present their choice as an equation.

Other Ideas? 

Taking daily activity and adding a fraction twist helps students to internalize fractions on a deeper (and more fun) level. 

Time to brainstorm. Where do you see fractions being integrated into your other activities? Is there anything you already do that you could add a fraction challenge ‘twist’ to?  

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