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Teaching Fractions with Math Picture Books

Fraction concepts are often the most challenging for students to grasp and teachers to teach. On top of that, fraction operations can be even more challenging to teach because students are unable to connect the actions of fraction operations with that of whole numbers. Students need a lot of experiences to develop these skills and build a solid understanding of the concepts. One way to help students “see” the action of the operations is by using picture books. With these goals in mind, I’m sharing two of my favorite fraction picture books. Both of these books can be a great springboard to introducing fraction multiplication and division. Not only will they help students “see” the operations, but they will allow students to compare the effects of multiplying and dividing whole numbers with the effects of multiplying and dividing by fractions.

Multiplying Menace- The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin by Pam Calvert
    • Target Skill(s): Multiplication of Whole Numbers and Fractions
    • Book Synopsis: Peter, son of the King and Queen, is celebrating his tenth birthday when Rumpelstiltskin returns to fulfill the promise made to him by the Queen when he spun her straw into gold. When the Queen refuses, Rumpelstiltskin reeks havoc on the town. All through the town, Rumpelstiltskin points his magic stick at all people and things. Poof! They disappear! After Rumpelstiltskin gives the King six noses, Peter agrees to go with him if Rumpelstiltskin agrees to fix the town. Rumpelstiltskin takes Peter to his home and Peter watches as he uses his magic stick to create more of the things he needs and less of what he doesn’t need. While Rumpelstiltskin is sleeping, Peter takes the magic stick and tries to figure out how to use it. Once Peter discovers the secret of the magic stick, he returns to the town to fix Rumpelstiltskin’s work. 
    • Math Involved: In the story, both Peter and Rumpelstiltskin use the magic stick to multiply whole numbers by whole numbers to obtain a larger amount and whole numbers by fractions to obtain a smaller amount. 
    • Questions to Ponder:
      • What is multiplication?
      • What happens when we multiply by a whole number by a whole number?
      • What happens when we multiply a whole number and a fraction?
      • What happens when we multiply a number times zero?
    • Activity Ideas:
      • Elementary students are used to seeing multiplication as a way to get more of something. Create a T-chart and brainstorm situations from the text when more objects resulted and when fewer objects resulted. Use the book as a guide. Discuss what kind of numbers Rumpelstiltskin and Peter multiplied by to get more and to get less. 
      • Have students create a chart with an example of multiplication with whole numbers and fractions.
      • Use the book to create problems such as, “When Peter wanted to change his dad’s face back to one nose instead of six, what did he multiply by?” Have students write and illustrate a number sentence to match the problem. 
  • Book Link on Amazon: http://bit.ly/MultiplyingMenace
The Multiplying Menace Divides by Pam Calvert
    • Target Skill(s): Division of Whole Numbers and Fractions
    • Book Synopsis: On a stroll through the town, Peter, son of the King and Queen, begins to notice a lot of people and animals who have been transformed into frogs. When Peter discovers that his father too has been transformed into a frog, he begins to suspect that Rumpelstiltskin is behind the mayhem. Peter then travels to the Royal Swamp where he finds Rumpelstiltskin plotting with a witch named Matilda to divide the world into frogs using a magic stick called, The Great Divide. After being discovered by Matilda and Rumpelstiltskin, Peter is captured and held captive until he tells them where he hid The Great Multiplier, a tool they plan to use with The Great Divide to take over the world. The dangerous duo then turns Peter’s dog into a frog when he refuses to tell them where the multiplying stick is located. Peter tells them that only his dog Zero knows where the stick is because he buried it somewhere in the town. The three of them then head back to Peter’s town to find Zero, reeking havoc along the way and turning more people and animals into frogs. As they travel, Peter discovers the secret of The Great Divide. While the two are distracted, Peter runs away with Zero to find the multiplying stick. Rumpelstiltskin and Matilda catch up with Peter and Zero, take both sticks, and combine them into one magical stick. After a struggle ensues, Peter regains the stick, eliminates Matilda and Rumpelstiltskin, and returns the town to normal. 
    • Math Involved: In the story, both Peter, Rumpelstiltskin, and Witch Matilda use the magic stick to divide whole numbers by whole numbers to obtain a smaller amount and whole numbers by fractions to obtain a larger amount. 
    • Questions to Ponder:
      • What is division?
      • What happens when we divide by a whole number by a whole number?
      • What happens when we divide a whole number and a fraction?
      • What happens when we divide a number by zero?
    • Activity Ideas:
      • Elementary students are used to seeing division as a way to get less of something. Create a T-chart and brainstorm situations from the text when more objects resulted and when fewer objects resulted. Use the book as a guide. Discuss what kind of numbers Rumpelstiltskin, Matilda, and Peter multiplied by to get more and to get less. 
      • Have students create a chart with an example of division with whole numbers and fractions.
      • Use the book to create problems such as, “When Matilda changed a horse into four smaller horses, what did she divide by?” Have students write and illustrate a number sentence to match the problem. 

Ready to practice fraction operations?

Check out my Valentine’s Day-Themed Fraction Operation Games and Activities pack in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Sound Off! What’s your favorite fraction picture book? Respond in the comments below.

 

Shametria Routt Banks

Shametria Routt Banks

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