# Visual Fraction Models

Today students explored fractions using number and visual models. Students have been practicing how to add and subtract numbers for the past few weeks. Most of the students have an understanding of how to find common denominators and add or subtract problems.  Yesterday students answered word problems involving fraction computation.

What I’m noticing is that students are understanding and compiling their number models but aren’t as comfortable with visual representations. Being able to model fractions is important and a key ingredient in understanding fractional parts. As the class progressed I felt like there was a disconnect between fraction representation and computation. Eventually, the lack of conceptual math understanding impacts a student. I’ve found this to be especially clear with fractions.  So today’s class focused on showing both, the number model and visual representation. Students worked in groups on the page below.

Students worked together on the two problems. There was a lot of struggle, especially with the visual model portion of problem two. I was tempted to lean in and help the students but I wanted them to use strategies and their partner to find a solution. I let the students work and even debate strategies with each other. Near the end of the class students presented their final number models and visual representations.

I gave them feedback and asked questions in return. Two of the better examples are above. Tomorrow the class will be exploring visual fraction models via Thinking Blocks. Overall, I felt the productive struggle was worth their time and I hope that another layer of conceptual understanding is starting to cement.

## Author: Matt Coaty

I've taught elementary students for the past 14 years. I enjoy reading educational research and learning from my PLN. Words on this blog are my own.