Decimals, Division, Elementary Math, Fractions, Mathematical Environments

Fraction Flowers

As I’ve been in schools the last few weeks, I’ve heard teachers talk about the most dreaded part of the school year, State Testing Season.

As a teacher of 17 years in testing grade levels, I know the stress of testing season. I know the weight you feel to plow through the content. I understand the feeling of, “Have I done enough?” I’ve sat with my plan book and tentatively plotted out what to teach when between now and the testing dates. I’ve done it all. About 10 years ago, I decided I needed to change what I was doing to prepare my students for the test. I needed to continue to teach for understanding, not just plow through the material. I needed to stick to my teaching philosophy to Make Math Meaningful.

About 10 years ago as we were heading into Spring Break, I wanted a fun activity that my students would enjoy, but get a little bit of extra practice with equivalent fractions. I was teaching in an elementary school and knew I needed something to put in the hallway to bring those who pass it joy, but also display my students’ hard work.

Fraction Flowers were born!

If you are a primary teacher, don’t run… you can adjust these to be Fact Flowers instead.

This activity is high engaging and allows the student to be flexible in their math, but also in their flower creation. When working on Fraction Flowers, students are working on: equivalent fractions, writing a fraction as a decimal, and plotting a decimal on a number line.

Intermediate teachers, you will give each of your students a fraction. You can use unit fractions or fractions, it doesn’t matter. Be sure to give them fractions that they can find the decimal for by making the denominator a 10 or 100. If you are a 5th grade teacher, you can make the given fractions harder and have your students use division to find the decimal. You can easily differentiate this activity based on the fractions you give your students. Students have to fill out their fraction information before creating their flowers. You can see these answer sheets in some of the pictures above. The students then use those sheets to create their Fraction Flowers.

If you are a primary teacher and want to try out Fact Flowers, change up the directions. You give each student a number between 10-20 (I’ve even had students roll a 20-sided die to get their number). Students can put their number on the center of their flower and write out different combinations to make that number. For example: 13 goes on the center of the flower, students put 0+13, 1+12, 2+11, 3+10, 4+9, 5+8, 7+6, 6+7, 8+5, 9+4, 10+3, 11+2, 12+1, 13+0 on the petals. Primary students can still create a number line on the stem and mark their number on the number line.

I’ve also worked with primary teachers who were studying butterflies and had their students create Fact Flutterbys. Aren’t these cute?

I have included a basic lesson plan and all of the black lines you can use to create your petals. I pick about 5-7 colors and copy each petal in each color. I copy circles for the center of each flower and cut the stems about 2″ wide. Feel free to edit how it works best for you.

I’ve posted these fraction flowers in the hall in various ways. Copy me if you’d like or create your own display. Please tag me if you post pictures! @makemathmeaningful @KappelEmily @kappelconsultingllc




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