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Unit #5

Equivalent and Comparing Fractions

Approximate Time Frame:


12-15 days

Focus of the Unit:


This unit encompasses fractional equivalency and comparing fractions. Students will be able to
demonstrate their understanding of equivalency using visual fraction models. This includes area models,
number lines or it could be a collection/set model. This extends the work in third grade (with
denominators 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8) by using additional denominators (5, 10, 12, and 100). This unit
addresses equivalent fractions by examining the idea that equivalent fractions can be created by
multiplying both the numerator and denominator by the same number or by dividing a shaded region
into various parts. Comparison of fractions should be demonstrated in several ways. Before moving to
the procedure of finding a common denominator, fraction sense and reasoning should be the focus.
Connections to Previous Learning:
In Grade 3, the meaning of fraction is more formally built around the idea of partitioning the whole into
equal parts. Students started with unit fractions, which are formed by partitioning a whole into equal
parts and taking one part. Next students built fractions from unit fractions. Students did some
preliminary reasoning about equivalent fractions. Students experimented on number line diagrams
discovering that many fractions label the same point on the number line. Students also used fractions
strips to see fraction equivalence. In Grade 3, students compared fractions with the same denominator
or the same numerator. Students compared fractions of the same whole by reasoning about the size.
Where the Learning Goes Next:
In coming units, students will compare decimals using the meaning of a decimal as a fraction. Students
will compare two decimals, where one is given in tenths and the other hundredths, which is the same as
generating an equivalent fraction. This argument using the meaning of a decimal as a fraction
generalizes to work with decimals in Grade 5 that have more than two digits.
Also in Grade 5, students will use their knowledge of fractional equivalency when adding and subtracting
fractions with unlike denominators by creating fractions with common denominators.
Content Standards Addressed in this Unit:
Practice Standards to be Emphasized in this
4.NF.A.1, 4.NF.A.2
Unit:
MP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP4: Model with mathematics.
MP5: Use appropriate tools strategically.
MP7: Look for and make use of structure.
Enduring Understandings:

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Rational numbers are a natural extension of the way that we use numbers.
The concept of whole is fundamental to the interpretation of rational numbers.
A fraction describes the division of a whole (region, set, segment) into equal parts.
The larger the name of the denominator the smaller the size of the piece.
Any rational number can be expressed as a fraction in an infinite number of equivalent forms, and
the forms are equivalent if the same portion of the set or area of the figure is represented or they
represent the same point of the number line.
When creating equivalent fractions all of the pieces in a whole are subdivided or partitioned thus
the amount of pieces named in the numerator is automatically partitioned in the same way.
Comparison to known benchmark quantities can help students determine the relative size of a
fractional piece because the benchmark quantity can clearly be seen as smaller as or larger than
the piece. One significant benchmark quantity is one-half.
A fraction can be named in more than one way and the fractions will be equivalent as long as the
same portion of the set or area of the figure is represented when the denominator is multiplied or
divided then the numerator is automatically divided into the same number of pieces because it is a
subcomponent of the denominator.
Standards

4.NF.A.1
Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a
fraction (n x a) / (n x b) by using visual fraction
models, with attention to how the number and size
of the parts differ even though the two fractions
themselves are the same size. Use this principle to
recognize and generate equivalent fractions.
Tie in MP4, MP5, and MP7.

Instructional Notes
Students can use visual models to generate
equivalent fractions.
Example: All the models show 1/2 . The
second model shows 2/4 but also shows that
1/2 and 2/4 are equivalent fractions
because their areas are equivalent. When a
horizontal line is drawn through the center of
the model, the number of equal parts doubles
and size of the parts is halved. Students will
begin to notice connections between the models
and fractions in the way both the parts and
wholes are counted and begin to generate a rule
for writing equivalent fractions.

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1 2 2
=
2 2 4

1 2 2
=
2 2 4

1 3 3
=
2 3 6

1 4 4
=
2 4 8

Common Misconceptions:
Students think that when generating
equivalent fractions they need to multiply or
divide either the numerator or denominator,
1
such as, changing
to sixths. They would
2
1
multiply the denominator by 3 to get
,
6
instead of multiplying the numerator by 3
also. Their focus is only on the multiple of the
denominator, not the whole fraction.
Students need to use a fraction in the form of
3
one such as
so that the numerator and
3
denominator do not contain the original
numerator or denominator

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4.NF.A.2
Compare two fractions with different numerators
and different denominators, e.g., by creating
common denominators or numerators, or by
comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2.
Recognize that comparisons are valid only when
the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record
the results of comparisons with symbols >, =, or <,
and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual
fraction model

This standard calls students to compare


fractions by creating visual fraction models or
finding common denominators or numerators.
Students experiences should focus on visual
fraction models rather than algorithms. When
tested, models may or may not be included.
Students should learn to draw fraction models to
help them compare. Students must also
recognize that they must consider the size of
the whole when comparing fractions.

Tie in MP2 and MP4.

Fractions may be compared using

1
2

as a

benchmark.

Possible student thinking by using benchmarks:


1
1

is smaller than
because when 1
8
2
whole is cut into 8 pieces, the pieces are
much smaller than when 1 whole is cut into 2
pieces.
Possible student thinking by creating common
denominators:

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5 1
>
6 2

because

3 1
= and
6 2

5 3
>
6 6

Possible student thinking by creating common


numerators:
1 3
1 3
3 3
>
=
>

because
and
2 10
2 6
6 10

Knowledge
Equivalent fractions have
the same value.
There are linear and area
fraction models.

Academic Vocabulary:
Numerator

Common Misconceptions:
Students think that when generating
equivalent fractions they need to multiply or
divide either the numerator or denominator,
1
such as, changing
to sixths. They would
2
1
multiply the denominator by 3 to get
,
6
instead of multiplying the numerator by 3
also. Their focus is only on the multiple of the
denominator, not the whole fraction.
Students need to use a fraction in the form of
3
one such as
so that the numerator and
3
denominator do not contain the original
numerator or denominator.
Understandings
Skills
Multiplying by n/n is the
Explain why a fraction a/b
same as multiplying by 1
is equivalent to a fraction
(which is why equivalent
(n x a) / (n x b) by using
fractions have the same
visual fraction models.
value).
Use visual fraction models
When creating equivalent
(e.g., number lines, objects,
fractions all of the pieces in
drawings, etc.) to show

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Denominator
Equivalent fractions
Benchmark fraction
Visual fraction model
Comparison symbols

a whole are subdivided or


partitioned thus the
amount of pieces named in
the numerator is
automatically partitioned in
the same way.
When comparing two
fractions, it is only valid
when the two fractions
refer to the same whole.
Fractions can be compared
by reasoning about their
size.

equivalent fractions.
Recognize if two fractions
are equivalent.
Generate equivalent
fractions for a given
fraction.
Compare two fractions by
creating equivalent
fractions with a common
denominator or numerator.
Compare two fractions by
reasoning about their size
Compare to two fractions to
a benchmark fraction such
as .
Compare fractions using <,
>, and = and justify the
comparison.

Suggested Resources:
TN Core Tasks: Star Bar; Getting to School: http://www.edutoolbox.org/tntools/menu/grade/819/955
Engage NY: https://www.engageny.org/resource/grade-4-mathematics-module-5
North Carolina Tasks: http://3-5cctask.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/4.NF.1-4.NF.2
Georgia Units: http://ccgpsmathematicsk-5.wikispaces.com/4th+Grade
Inside Mathematics: http://www.insidemathematics.org/common-core-resources/mathematicalcontent-standards/standards-by-grade/4th-grade
Illustrative Mathematics: https://www.illustrativemathematics.org/content-standards/4/NF/A
Learn Zillion: https://learnzillion.com/resources/57240-4th-grade-numbers-and-operations-fractions
Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/math/cc-fourth-grade-math/cc-4th-fractions-topic/cc4th-visualizing-equiv-frac/v/equivalent-amount-of-pizza
K-5 Math Teaching Resources: http://www.k-5mathteachingresources.com/4th-grade-number-

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activities.html
Go Math: Lessons 6.1 6.8
Assessment Samples:
PARCC (4.NF.A.1 & 4.NF.A.2)

Smarter Balance (4.NF.A.1)

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Smarter Balance (4.NF.A.2)

Professional Resources:

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NCTM Essential Understanding Series


Common Core Progressions Documents - http://ime.math.arizona.edu/progressions/
TN Core http://tncore.org/math/instructional_resources.aspx
Illustrative Mathematics https://www.illustrativemathematics.org/blueprints