In math we have been hard at work operating with fractions. After a quick review of addition and subtraction, we have moved on to exploring fraction multiplication. Our focus is always on making sense of the operation, and not just learning a rule. We think about fractions' relative magnitude and what strategies to use to determine that. Most of the work is in context - students solve engineered problems that illuminate the targeted concept. For example the students have been buying fractions of brownies in a pan...a pan costs $12.00, if they buy 1/3 of 1/2 a pan, what fraction of the pan do they get and how much does it cost?
We also play games that build relative magnitude understanding with fractions. With a deck of cards, deal out 4. Arrange them into two fractions that are equal or as close as possible. How close are they? For example, if the cards are 8, 4, 10, 5, you could make 4/8 and 5/10, which are equal. Or 3, 6. 2, 5. You could make...oh, maybe I'll let you figure that one out.