Math Background

Fractions and Probability: Tips and Tricks

  • Use your school or public library to find books that focus on fractions and symmetry. Suggested books include Shapes in Nature by Judy Feldman, Exploring Shapes by Andrea King, and Take Off with Shapes by Sally Hewitt.
  • Give paper, markers, and scissors to children. Have them fold the paper in half, making sure that the parts are equal. Point out the vertical line formed by the fold. Make sure that children see this as a line of symmetry. Demonstrate how to draw a shape on one side of the folded paper, aligning it with the fold. Show children how to carefully cut out the shape. Then unfold the paper to reveal the two symmetrical matching parts. Use the marker to darken the line of symmetry. Discuss the symmetrical shape with the children. Invite them to use their folded paper to make their own symmetrical shapes. When everyone has finished, allow time for volunteers to share their work.
  • Have children look through magazines to find pictures of symmetrical objects. Make a poster or bulletin board to display their finds.
  • Use index cards to make cards for a game of “Concentration.” On some cards, draw shapes divided into halves, thirds, or fourths; on other cards, write the corresponding fractions. Arrange the cards facedown in a grid and have children take turns looking for shapes and the fractions that match.
  • Ask parents to bring in fruit snacks. Guide children to explore halves, thirds, and fourths of these snacks. Cut up apples, oranges, and grapefruits and help children name the fractional parts.
  • Ask children to watch as you put 6 red cubes, 1 yellow cube, and 2 blue cubes in a bag. Then take out one cube at a time and ask children to guess the color each time. Encourage children to give a reason for their choice. Continue until all of the blocks have been chosen. Ask children to draw conclusions from the activity and to discuss them. Lead them to see that the greater the number of cubes of a given color, the greater the chance of drawing a cube of that color.
6 red cubes, 1 yellow cube, and 2 blue cubes and a bag

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1