Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Progressive Brainstorm - Fractions

Learning Focus: Representing fractions in different ways

This is one of the first lesson’s we did in our unit on FRACTIONS. Students completed a pre-test and K-W-L chart on fractions the day before. To assess whether students were able to identify fractions represented in different ways, I decided to use a progressive brainstorm.
Students were placed into four mixed-ability groups and each group was given the same colour marker. Each group was given a poster with a fraction on it. They then had three minutes to write everything they knew about that fraction on the poster. This activity is also sometimes called a GRAFFITI ACTIVITY. When the three minutes finished, the posters were moved to the next group and so on, until each group had a chance to write on each poster. We then shared our posters at the end of the lesson.
The progressive brainstorm strategy works well for EAL students as they are working with their peers and are able to see different ideas on the posters as they are moved around to the groups. Hopefully the different images and visuals on the posters help them spur their own ideas to put on the posters. This activity is great to activate student’s prior knowledge of the topic.

Here are the posters from our class. Remember that when we first started the activity, I had only written the following onto the posters.
one fifth (written out in words), 1/3 represented as a circle, 1/4 represented as a set, 3/4 written as a fraction
From this activity, I was able to learn a few things about the students’ knowledge of fractions. Firstly, most of the students have not understood that each piece of the fraction needs to be an equal part of the whole. Also, I learnt that the majority of students in the class were able to recognise a common fraction based on a picture. This will help lead my sequence of activity for the next few lessons on fractions.

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