# Playdough Fractions

## Curriculum Goal

#### Primary: Number Sense

• Use drawings to represent, solve, and compare the results of fair-share problems that involve sharing up to 10 items among two, three, four and six sharers, including problems that result in whole numbers, mixed numbers, and fractional amounts.

## Context

• Whole-class book reading and demonstration, followed by individual exploratory activity.

## Materials

• Playdough: one fist-sized lump for each child and teacher
• Playdough cutters (or butter knives)
• Chart paper and markers
• Blank paper: one for each child and teacher
• Pencils
• Book: Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice by Marilyn Sadler and Eric Comstock (Recorded reading available on YouTube)

## Lesson

• Read Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice.
• Discuss: “What is a fraction?” Record students’ ideas on chart paper and leave it visible for when they work.
• Roll playdough into a circle and demonstrate the process of splitting the “whole” circle into smaller parts. Place the parts on a mat that explicitly states the fractional names (“halves”, “1/2”). Leave this visible as the children work.
• Meanwhile, have students carefully observe and describe what is happening (ensure the use of fractional names).
• Have students create pizza-shaped flat circles from playdough.
• Ask students to divide their “whole” into two equal halves and place their results on the piece of paper. Invite them to label it with the correct fractional name.
• Repeat with other fractions, based on how well students are understanding fractions.
• Present questions to extend student thinking. Sample questions:
• What fraction is bigger, a half or a quarter?
• How many quarters will make a whole?
• How many parts are there when you divide your whole piece of playdough in half?
• What happens when you take one piece away from the fraction? How many pieces have you taken away and how many pieces do you have left?
• Facilitate a discussion on regrouping fraction parts into a whole. Have students put their pieces back together to create a whole circle again.

## Look Fors

• Are children able to provide the associated fractional name to their outcome?
• Can children regroup fractional parts back into the whole?
• Can children compare fractions? (e.g. Do children understand that one half is the same as two fourths?)