One of the science units of study we have this year in fourth grade covers the basic principles of force and motion. We have been reading in our science textbook and watching video presentations to learn about these principles, but I wanted to give my students the opportunity to conduct experiments to demonstrate some of these principles.
One of the most amazing resources we have in our community is the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Illinois campus. My students were able to go to a few performances at the Krannert Center last year, but we haven’t had as many opportunities to go to the Krannert Center this year, but we’ve been fortunate to have guests from the Center come to Wiley.
A few weeks before we started ISAT testing, I was chatting with the engagement director from Krannert and mentioned that the fourth grade was interested in a part-day field trip to Krannert to maybe see a show or something. He brought it up with me a few times over the past couple of months, but we never planned anything out specifically. (more…)
My students are working on their last major arithmetic unit for the year: fractions and decimals. We started last week with identifying fractions and being able to represent them using visual models. We also explored simplifying fractions and find equivalent fractions, which has led us to also explore finding greatest common factors and least common multiples.
We continued today with adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators. To start, though, we reviewed what we had worked on last week. I gave the students several fractions that they had to rewrite in simplest form, then I gave them pairs of numbers to find the GCF and the LCM.
I actually introduced adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators by talking about eating pizza at our Wiley Family Movie Night last Friday. I told the students about the pizzas we had that had eight slices each. I explained that I had eaten four slices of pizza and a student had eaten three slices. So how many slices did we eat all together? (Seven, obviously.) Then I said, “Okay, if I ate 4/8 of a pizza and the student at 3/8 of a pizza, how much did we eat altogether? (7/8.) The students quickly recognized that adding and subtracting fractions results in a change in the numerator, but not the denominator. We repeated the mantra we learned last week:
When adding or subtracting fractions with like denominators, the denominator DOES NOT CHANGE.
We wrapped up the lesson with several independent practice problems. I let the students work on their own or with partners, and everyone finished in just a few minutes. Then I had them work on word problems that involved evaluating fractions that come from different-sized wholes. (For example, which is bigger, 1/2 of an extra large pizza or 1/2 of a small pizza?) This was also quickly picked up by the students.
During lunch, I was grading some of the quick quizzes we did last week and one of our fifth grade teachers saw it. She expressed gratitude that we are working on fractions, factors, and multiples, because these are all critical priority standards the students need to master in order to be prepared for fifth grade! It was a great day for math instruction! We will continue our exploration of throughout the week and then work on decimals next week.