Kids often times have a lot of trouble when they first start learning about fractions. Pie charts, numerators, denominators, addition, subtraction…these concepts can be overwhelming for kids sometimes. In fact, most kids would rather give up and just play with their LEGOs instead of studying. That’s where this method becomes revolutionary! Grab your kid’s favorite bricks and get ready to blow their little minds!
Start off small. Explain how you can add different numbers to create a whole. Don’t move on to addition until they fully understand that different parts make up a whole. Once they understand that, you can tell them proudly that they already know how to add.
Go over these same methods day after day for about a week. When they see you coming to them with a handful of bricks, they should be partially excited, but maybe groan a little bit and say something like “moooom I already get this!” That’s your cue to move on to bigger and more complex methods.
Once they can add fractions, you can introduce numbers larger than parts of 4. Try 1/3s, 1/8s, or any that might be a bit tougher for them to grasp. Once they have that down, move on to bigger numbers!
If you have a larger slab, you can use it to practice adding and subtracting smaller “parts” of the whole.
Explain that a “whole” can be any number and any amount. Cutting a huge piece in 1/2 might look bigger than when you cut a small piece into 1/2, but they are still 1/2. This is usually the “light bulb” moment. From this point on, you can move on with the confidence that they will understand the bigger picture of what fractions are, and not get stuck counting the little dots to answer a question.
Keep explaining, using different sizes. Repetition, repetition, repetition!
See? It doesn’t matter how many bricks are inside of the slab. You’ve still got the same amount of dots, they’re just broken up smaller and smaller. They still equal one whole.
You are now ready to tackle the terrifying square numbers! Multiplication has never been so easy. They may not be ready to find the square root of a number just yet, but when the time comes, don’t forget to whip out those trusty colored bricks and ace those tests with perfect scores!
Have you tried this method? Did it work for your kids, or did they need another method to really understand what a fraction was? I think this method is brilliant and I wish I had learned this way from the beginning!
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