Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fraction Family Flip Book

Fraction Flip Books that highlight 

fact families and equivalencies instead of order.

Fourth and Fifth grade teachers…. Stop making fraction books that put unit fractions in descending or ascending order.  Instead, group those fractions in to families.  Deeper learning and understanding occurs.

We start with the whole and then create the halves, fourths, and eighths using yellow bars.  We fold to create halves, and label them.  Then we fold another whole into halves, and I ask them, “How can we create fourths from halves?”.  Students tell me to fold it in half, so we do.  We then label those fraction pieces after I ask them, what does 1/4 look like.  Hold up what 3/4 looks like.   I can ask them little questions like which is longer  1/2 or 3/4 ?   Then we repeat the process for the eights.  We start with the whole, fold to make ½, fold again to make ¼ and then once more to make 1/8 .   After we explore how they are related to each other, we glue that family on the flip book.

Students learn that a fourth is half of a half and an eighth is half of a fourth  HUGE!!!  Folding paper is both visual and kinesthetic.

Folding paper strips provides for deeper understanding than when the teacher provides a strip already labeled.   They see the connection between the fraction family unit fractions when they fold and label themselves.

1/12 can be included as part of the third fraction family, but I leave it by itself.  When we fold to make those we fold sixths in half, but I have the students align the twelfths to the fourths to notice that ¼ is equal in length to 3/12.   I choose green for the twelfths because yellow and blue combine to create green. When you add thirds and fourths you create twelfths.

Fraction Families

1/2, 1/4, 1/8 yellow

1/3, 1/6 blue

1/12 green

1/5, 1/10 hot pink

I have created templates for 1/2, 1/3, 1/12 and 1/5 to print and use in the classroom.  They can be found at my teachers pay teachers store for free.  :-)
The link below will take you there.

Inside the fraction flip book, we label percent, decimal and other fraction equivalents.   I also ask the students to illustrate the fractions using the circle model, rectangle or area model, or a set model.   This takes an entire class period to create, but is so important.  The next class period, we formally compare fractions and I introduce the number line based on the strips we used in class. 

__________  ____________  ____________   __________  _____________
People have been asking for pictures of the inside of this book.  These are pictures from one student's pages.  The decimal point is difficult to see but 2/3 is equal to 66.6% on the first picture.  He was not as comfortable with the circle model for sixths or fifths, but was able to provide a picture model for each fraction.    This is a great formative assessment for their understanding.


  1. Thank you for sharing such a great idea! I love it! I was wondering if you could post what it looks like on the inside? Thanks again for sharing!

  2. I'm sending a comment on TpT as well.

    How do you fold the backing pieces? How many sheets of paper?
    I'd like to have my students add these to their interactive notebooks, and I'd like a how-to on the base you're gluing the colored fraction strips. THANKS so much!