Fraction Games for Third Graders

Use the hands-on activities below to help your third grader improve his or her understanding of fractions. These activities can be ready to play in a matter of minutes and can be adjusted to fit your child's ability level.

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An Overview of Fractions

In third grade, your child will need to understand that fractions are created when a whole number is partitioned into equal parts. He will compare fractions and explain why some fractions are equivalent. Hands-on activities allow your child to 'see' how fractions are created and to work with the models, which can then increase his understanding.

M&M Fractions

Have your child open a bag of M&Ms and sort them by color. Ask her to represent each color with a fraction. If your child has difficulty with the denominator, remind her that the denominator is the total number of M&Ms in the bag. So, if there were 25 candies total, and five of them were blue, the fraction of blue M&Ms would be 5/25, which can be written as 1/5. After representing each color with a fraction, ask your child to arrange the fractions from smallest to largest.

Fraction Shapes

For this activity, have your child cut out four different shapes from construction paper. Then, ask him to create a pattern using the shapes. Use fractions to represent the shapes in the pattern. For instance, if there is one square, then the square represents 1/4 of the pattern.

This activity can be made more difficult if there are more shapes. For example, if he used six circles in a pattern of 12 shapes, the fraction would be 6/12 or 1/2. Feel free to have your child mix up the pattern to see how the fractions change.

Orange Fractions

Peel an orange and use it to help your child with fractional amounts. Have your child divide the orange into its segments and then represent the segments with a fraction. Pose different scenarios to your child and help her discover the solution. For instance, if the orange had twelve segments and she eats two segments, what would the new fraction be? (The answer is 2/12.) What is a fraction that is equivalent to that? (2/12 can be reduced to 1/6.) Of course, you can incorporate more than one orange to allow for more fraction possibilities.

Fractions in the Kitchen

Spend some time in the kitchen baking cupcakes and helping your child with fractions at the same time. As you begin to fill the cupcake tins with batter, discuss the fractional amounts that are being represented. For example, if you have five of the 12 cupcake tins filled with batter, your child would use the fraction 5/12 to represent the amount. Using a second cupcake pan will allow more practice opportunities for your child.

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