teaching resource

Decomposing Fractions – Hands-On Activity

  • Editable

    Editable:  Google Slides

  • Non-Editable

    Non-Editable:  PDF

  • Pages

    Pages:  18

  • Curriculum

    Curriculum:  CCSS, TEKS

  • Grade

    Grade:  3

  • Differentiated

    Differentiated:  Yes

Break apart fractions and represent them with fraction strips with this differentiated hands-on activity.

Decompose a Fraction – Activity for Kids

As students are learning about fractions, it is important that they learn smaller fractions make up a larger fraction. Students learn to decompose (break apart) as well as compose (put together) fractions. This can be done with unit fractions with the same or different denominators. If decomposing a given fraction into unit fractions, look at the denominator and place this under the numerator. This unit fraction is then added together the same number of times as the numerator. 

As an example, the fraction ¾ can be broken down into three ¼ pieces. ¾ = ¼ + ¼ + ¼ .

You can choose from a few different options to complete this activity. After drawing a task card, students will be challenged to build the chosen fraction with fraction pieces. Students can use blank fraction strips or those with numerical fractions written on each piece. Additionally, students can choose only to use pieces with the same denominator to build their chosen fraction or use pieces with different denominators. Students will record their findings on the recording sheet by writing an addition sentence. For example, “⅙ + ⅙ + ⅙ = 3/6”

Tips for Differentiation + Scaffolding 

A team of dedicated, experienced educators created this resource to support your math lessons. 

In addition to individual student work time, use this hands-on activity to enhance learning through guided math groups or whole class lessons.

If you have a mixture of above and below-level learners, check out these suggestions for keeping students on track with the concepts: 

🆘 Support Struggling Students

If there are students that require support with this activity, consider using the pieces with the numerical fraction written on each piece. Additionally, students can build each fraction with the same color pieces (same denominator) to create their addition sentence.

➕ Challenge Fast Finishers

For students who need an added challenge, consider using the pieces that do not have the numerical fraction written on them. Additionally, challenge students to create each fraction with pieces that have a different denominator (if possible).

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the color PDF, black and white PDF, or editable Google Slides version of this resource. A recording sheet is also included with this download.

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

This resource was created by Kendall Britnell, a teacher in Colorado and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 

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