Grab these free equal sharing problems – in three levels of difficulty!
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A lot of you have been asking for more math activities – and I think you want more than the standard worksheet.
So do I! That’s why I’m beginning a series of differentiated task cards. Each set will include both simple and more complicated math problems.
Since many readers have requested activities for teaching fractions, I decided to start at the beginning … with equal sharing problems. After all, this is what students know – even as preschoolers.
“We have four cookies. How can the two of us share them?” Even young children can understand that they need to give two cookies to each person. And if the two people wish to share three cookies, a young child can break the extra cookie in half.
As you can see, division into equal groups is something that young children understand naturally.
So let’s build on it!
I used the following cards with my second, third, and fifth graders – but some of the cards would be appropriate for younger and older learners as well. Did you know that equal sharing problems are a great way to introduce fractions in all the elementary grades?
Equal sharing task cards
We can use equal sharing problems even before our students know proper fraction notation. In the following two examples, you’ll see my Seven’s answer to some level one task cards. He’s a mid-year second grader and hasn’t yet learned how to write fractions properly.
The level 1 set is on the simple side. They’re appropriate for on-level learners as young as kindergarten and first grade – provided they can read the task cards. As you can see, it’s A-okay to represent those fractions with numbers and words.
Here’s a level 1 card that my third grader did. He labeled each section K1, K2, etc. (kid 1, kid 2) to keep track of which child got which pretzel.
This is a card from set 2. The 2-dot card are appropriate for on-level learners as young as second grade. As your students do these cards, ask them how they decided to share the leftovers. Reinforce fraction names, such as in the above example: “One and two-thirds.”
Encourage your students to use a picture to show their answer. It will be interesting to see how many different ways your learners illustrate the math problems!
This is a card from set 3. I designed this set to be used with on-level children as young as third grade, but my second grader could do many of the cards. I would certainly make them available for advanced students in the lower grades.
I hope you can see that even though the simplest cards could be used with children as young as kindergarten or first grade, the challenging cards can be used with children even older than third grade. My fifth grader, who is a good math student, had to really stop and think!
For more about teaching fractions, I highly recommend the book Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals, by Susan B. Empson and Linda Levi. Their book goes into great detail about equal sharing problems.
I hope you and your learners enjoy these! Stay tuned for more differentiated math task cards.