Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Using Open-ended Activities to Differentiate Fractions Understandings

I find helping children to enquire into fractions the most challenging of all the maths strands.  

By the time children enter Year 6, there is such an enormous range of understandings of fractions.  

From pre-assessments, I find some children are still needing to learn about equivalent fractions and others at the other end of the spectrum show they know how and why we divide fractions. 

What to do when you find you have 8 or 9 groups of levels in a class of 20?

To help cater to all the different needs, I'm starting to think of open-ended activities each day.  Open-ended activities help deepen a child's reasoning skills and allows each child to take their thinking to levels that makes sense to them. 

Today, we looked at the following.  The children needed to reflect on where they feel comfortable and chose either the easier, the mid or the more challenging question.

After spending 10 minutes on the activity, children shared their ideas and strategies with their table partners and then some shared with the whole class.

Some samples:

The answer is 2 and two-sevenths             The answer is half a cake.
of a cake.

What could the questions be?                   What could the questions be?

It is fascinating and informative to see what each child thinks of when given open-ended activities.   They also really enjoy the challenge, I think, partly because it isn't teacher-directed.  They have the freedom to take their thoughts where they want to go with it.

Now to find or create more open-ended activities. Hmmm......


  1. I wish I had a math teacher like you when I was in school!

  2. That's really sweet of you to say Miss K- thanks!


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