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Introduction to Fractions
Subject: Arithmetic, Special Ed
Grade: 3-5, 6-8

Brief Description

This is a lesson I use to introduce fractions to learning disabled students. It can also be used for younger grades.


To introduce the idea of fractions, what they are and how we use them.


Students learn what fractions of real items look like.

Materials Needed

Paper towels, pretzel rods (2 per student)

Lesson Plan

I begin by asking "What is a fraction?" Many students know what a fraction is, but not what it looks like and how we use it. That is the best way I have found to begin. I then take a pretzel rod and break it in half. I start to eat one half and then ask the class what I did. I try to elicit the response, "You broke it in half, or in pieces". That begins my lesson. Then I go on from there to explain that things can be broken into parts and those parts are fractions of the whole item. I give the students one pretzel rod and a paper towel (to avoid crumbs) and have them break the pretzel in half. From half, I go on to have the students break the second pretzel into quarters. Best part about this lesson is that the kids eat the "evidence" at the end of the lesson.


I ask the students several questions at the end of the lesson. They are:

  1. How many pieces did you have when you broke the pretzel into halves?
  2. How many pieces did you have when you broke the pretzel into quarters?
  3. What is another way that we recognize halves and quarters? (the answer to this is usually relates to half dollars and quarters)
  4. If you have 4 quarters, how many do you think will go into one half?
  5. How many quarters go into a whole unit?

By using this method and breaking whole pieces into smaller, more manageable units, the students learn quickly. With LD students, everything must be concrete and this is the most successful teaching method I have found in the past 6 years.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted by Mimi Weitz, [email protected]
JHS 157, Rego Park, NY, USA


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